Review - Becoming Bill: A New Musical: answering deep life questions
Image one: Bradley McCaw and the cast of Becoming Bill. Image 2: Stephanie Long.
Becoming Bill: A New Musical
Written by Bradley McCaw
Directed by Neil Gooding
Old Fashioned Production Company
Season runs until August 25. Bookings: brisbanepowerhouse.org
Have you ever just sat down and contemplated your life as it has been and how you want to be in the future? Well there’s a new musical in town that explores exactly that and much more. Becoming Bill: A New Musical, written by and starring Bradley McCaw as the titular character, has something for every human that has ever lived a life they loved or didn’t. s let into his life as he tries to write a musical for the first time. We meet the people most important to him and Bills lets us in on his thoughts and secrets. It’s a conversation between friends. But most importantly, it’s a life lesson.
Becoming Bill is a musical that really speaks to creatives, whether that be thespians, visual artists, musos or anywhere in between. It also speaks to people on a human level, answering deep life questions as well as asking them.
So, what does Bill want? He is, generally, a happy-go-lucky guy with a secure teaching job. He has a beautiful and talented girlfriend, a loving mother and couch potato for a brother. However, it soon becomes apparent that neither Bill nor Kim, his girlfriend, played by Stephanie Long his mother – Rachael Beck or his brother James – Oliver Samson – are happy.
The story unfolds as these characters soon begin to realise that what they currently have might not be what they will always want. Of course, there is always drama followed by forgiveness or closure in every life however Becoming Bill seems to hyper-realise ordinary life by making it seem like it isn’t ordinary at all.
There are meta elements to this show as well and it is these little in-jokes that really brought out moments of comedy. What was most enjoyable about this was the frank and human characters – each one loveable in their own way. It didn’t matter whose side you chose, there was a likeable element in each of them.
Most of the musical numbers were strong, with a good mix of typical genres and beautifully blended harmonies. What Do I Want? sung by the full company, Let’s Not Have This Fight sung by Stephanie Long and When We Were Younger sung by Rachael Beck afforded moments of beauty and simplicity within the production and deepened the story.
An especially interesting touch was the inclusion of a live band, which cut through the monotony of using just the one instrument.
So what will Bradley McCaw do next? Becoming Bill was only just the beginning all those years ago and it will be interesting to see where his talent takes us.
Oliver Samson and Rachael Beck.