London’s Legends land at the Butterfly Club

Chuck Mallett and John Muirhead have had careers that are almost incomprehensibly huge and next week they are performing at Melbourne’s Butterfly Club – don’t miss out!

Butterfly Club
Chuck Mallett and John Muirhead have had careers that are almost incomprehensibly huge. Chuck was a voice coach at London’s Royal National Theatre and throughout his career coached actors such as Sir Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Anthony Hopkins, Derek Jacobi, Judi Dench and Angela Lansbury. Chuck was responsible for teaching Angela Lansbury the music from Sweeney Todd before she even took the job.

John, originally from Australia, worked as an actor in London for over 40 years, performing in both plays and musicals such as; Stop the World (I Want to Get Off), Tommy, Boys in the Band and The Seagull. If any two men could be called ‘masters’ in the world of theatre, these two have certainly earned that title.

About ten years ago, John and Chuck decided on a trip to Australia, that it was where they wanted to live. They’ve lived in a semi-retirement in North Caulfield ever since, but still keep up with the theatre, and still receive Christmas cards from old friends, like Judi Dench.

But John and Chuck both felt the itch to get back onstage and started work on a new show, Brecht: Bilbao and Beyond. Following a sold out opening night performance, they are ready to wow audiences again this Tuesday and Wednesday at The Butterfly Club.

“The audience were terrific, they gave us an amazing reception,” John said. “It was a very hot night, but they were absolutely with us throughout the whole 75 minutes.”

The show uses Bertholt Brecht’s poems, songs and short stories, with music he wrote in collaboration with Kurt Weill as well as a number of original compositions set to his poetry by Chuck.

John says they found the perfect venue for a show about Brecht right in Melbourne at The Butterfly Club. “It’s just like I’m working back in Munich, it’s a real cabaret theatre, and what we’re doing is real cabaret like I used to see and do back in Germany.”

“I was originally going to do a show about me, but my life isn’t that interesting,” John said. “I get tired of people getting up onstage talking about themselves. Who cares?”

John and Chuck are both hoping that the initial success will lead to a tour of the show.

“From the Tuesday night’s reception, I know that the show has got legs.” John said. “We sold out the first two shows very quickly, so they had to add another show.”

John Muirhead and Chuck Mallet
BRECHT: Balboa and Beyond 

The Butterfly Club – 204 Bank St South Melbourne
Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 December 
Time: 8pm 

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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