Walking down the darkened alleyway of Melbourne’s Carson Place and up a dimly lit stairwell, you could be forgiven for thinking you were entering The Butterfly Club. But from 14 –19 July, you will be in fact, walking into The 27 Club.
It is neither hell nor purgatory. It is a whiskey-filled den where the lives, deaths, interviews and most crucially, the songs of some of the finest musical names of the 20th century will be brought back to life.
The 27 Club is the brand new offering from the creators of the critically acclaimed warehouse production of Sam Shepard’s A Lie Of the Mind. Armed with an array of instruments, The 27 Club will be a musical performance of the highest order. The show charts a darkly atmospheric journey through the works of Joplin, Winehouse, Cobain, Hendrix and Morrison – artists who made their mark on the world before the age of 27, and are forever frozen in time. Featuring interviews, journal entries and poetry from these luminaries, it is a highly-charged musical tour-de-force.
The production comes from the lives and minds of Melbourne theatre mainstays Zack Anthony Curran (A Lie Of The Mind, Blood Brothers, It’s Only Life), Keane Fletcher (The Ten Tenors) and Andrew Kroenert (Show Boat, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang).
Each musical piece has been reimagined and explored with synth, guitar, percussion and stunning three-part harmony.
“The 27 Club is much closer to a concert than the traditional style of cabaret people might be used to”, Zack Anthony Curran told AussieTheatre today.
“However, the traditional form exists for a reason so we have been careful not to be overly experimental with our choices. We really hope to honour the legacy of the artists we are dealing with as well as highlighting their struggles and ultimate consequences of their success.”
Curran and Fletcher have worked extensively together over the last decade, while studying at WAAPA and in professional settings throughout their careers.
“We were both itching to work on something truthful, simple and earthy”, said Curran.
“We’ve actually done about 11 shows together not to mention endless gigs, cruise ships and one off events so it made sense to work together on this. Before we could think too much about it we booked the venue, engaged Andrew Kroenert as our Musical Supervisor and then developed the show form there. No backing out that way!”
Using media interviews, personal accounts, journal entries and even poetry, the show delves into the consequences of dealing with fame and celebrates the musical legacies left behind by the 27 club members.
“All of the artists struggled to deal with their fame in different ways and all of them had problems with hard drugs and alcohol. In the end they all died at the age of 27 leaving behind an incredible legacy of music and style which is so evident today even though for some of them it’s been 45 years since their death”, Curran said.
Songs of Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse will be explored in this piece, which will hopefully have life after the Butterfly Club.
“We are treating this season as a step in the development to a bigger idea. We hope to tour the cabaret circuit next year and add a full band and other production elements but for now, thanks to The Butterfly Club – Who offer a risk free venue hire structure we are able to present our most simple version of our show.”
Experience the transformation of The Butterfly Club into the smoked filled sleazy dive bar where lights are dim, whiskey runs like water and the music never stops.
The 27 Club
Time: 8.30pm (Tues-Sat) 8pm (Sun)
Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne 3000