Tuesday 16th April 2019 at the Crazy Coqs (Live at Zédel).
Musical theatre fans, gather round! Actually, music fans in general, get over here. If you’ve ever physically or facially reacted to a specific note, rewound a song to hear a riff again, or actively forced friends to listen to a particular part of a song, then Seth Rudetsky’s particular brand of comedy is for you.
Folks, he gets it. Not only does he get it, he has all the words for it too – whereas you or I might simply shout ‘holy hell, what is she even doing there? How? What the… Play it again, quick!’ Rudetsky will give a two minute commentary explaining exactly why those five seconds exploded our clueless little brains. That’s the education part. Then he’ll follow up with something devastatingly sarcastic and the room with holler in appreciation. There is nothing not to love about this set up.
Rudetsky does ‘deconstructions’. This entails talking us through what he considers to be ‘amaazing’ delights or hideous abominations of recorded songs. We are privy to his dramatic reactions and sassy asides as he talks us though what we’re about to hear, for better or for worse, before he lets the clip play and invites us to share his joy and/or horror.
He gives due praise to the stratospheric skills of ‘the belters’ and raises a sardonic eyebrow towards some lesser recordings, but Rudetsky also places himself in the line of fire. Playing recordings of himself as an over-confident youngster, he deconstructs young Seth with ruthless glee which we have no choice but to share – we’ve all been young Seth I suppose, but most of us were just wise enough to never record any evidence…
Some of the most hilarious moments stem from re-enactments and theorising on the exact circumstances surrounding some of the worst moments captured in a recording studio. How do such moments go out on sale? How do they even happen in the first place? Well, if you don’t see Seth Rudetsky’s Liza Minnelli, you are only cheating yourself.
Best of all for me with this show is listening to someone go to town on all of the singers I love. I’m guessing as fans of musical theatre, most share an appreciation of the likes of Barbra Streisand and Betty Buckley in the theatre world and of Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin in the world beyond the stage. He too has mulled over the mind-bending moments of their recordings. Every clip he plays is a loved one. He knows every obscure reference. Hell, he knows the depths of Streisand’s back catalogue – even What About Today? for Christ’s sake! No one really knows that album!
So, in Deconstructing Broadway, along comes this guy who is not just hilarious with his spot on observations but a guy who is a walking manifestation of all the musical theatre nerdiness we’re forced to keep in check from 9-5. We share a short-hand. We understand one another. Everyone is nodding and grinning as he’s destroying the Osmonds and poking fun at Streisand. It’s like finding a room full of your people when you’ve been forced to pretend to like heavy metal all your life. A-maazing.
From the moment he strides on stage to ‘orchestrate’ a Streisand classic to the moment he exits…to a big Streisand classic, Rudetsky has the room in stitches. From Madonna V Elaine Paige to the very compelling theory of ‘vibrato amnesia’, this is quality comedy content. Having sufficiently thrilled and floored us with quick wit, impressions, intricate musical deconstruction and casually brilliant piano playing, he leaves us in awe to sup what’s left of the wine wishing the show was at least twice as long. I laughed ninety minutes away without a care in the world – this man and this show are the tonic we all need!
You have one chance left to catch Seth Rudetsky’s Deconstructing Broadway at The Crazy Coqs on Friday 19th April 2019 – get your tickets here. If you miss out on this show, get yourself on YouTube where you can find plenty of Rudestsky’s brilliant deconstruction videos – I recommend ‘Not Cricket to Picket’, naturally…