Written and performed by Matthew Dear (graduate from the 2016 Griffith Conservatorium of Music’s Musical Theatre programme), Matt-aphorically Speaking is part-cabaret, part-lecture, about the important things in relationships- commitment, honesty, passion, connection and hugs.
The favourite aspect of the show are the anecdotes from Dear’s past- from school to awkward first dates. They are funny, heartfelt and often had an excellent lesson behind them, like be kind and don’t go to the movies on a first date. If time would allow, more of these stories would have been welcomed, particularly the funny moments and challenging situations that Dear’s dyslexia has gotten him into.
The musical theatre songs interwoven throughout are well-chosen and effectively capture some of the universal experiences we have in escapades of the heart- the elation of new love (‘On the Street Where You Live’ from My Fair Lady), the bewildering sadness of breakups (‘Losing My Mind’ from Follies), and the need for acceptance and equality (‘If You Were Gay’ from Avenue Q).
The show was directed and accompanied on piano by fellow 2016 graduate from the Musical Theatre programme, Chris Thompson. Thompson and Dear have a strong stage rapport, with Thompson playing an excellent, long suffering straight man to Dear’s chipper and ambitious showman. Dear has put so much of himself into this show- or if he hasn’t, the content and performance certainly give that impression. This cabaret is funny and goofy-with Dad jokes a-plenty. There is a lot of first-rate audience interaction (which was doubly funny because I knew the people pulled up on stage) which included a hugging demonstration, magic tricks, and recreations of awkward dates. Dear is very good at building a connection with people.
One critique is that the show does take a little while to get going. Dear has deliberately structured the show back to front so it takes a few minutes to orient yourself and get into the swing of the somewhat jumbled nature of it flow. I hasten to add that once you do get into it, it has real warmth and charm.
Matt-aphorically Speaking is a sweet story of love and learning, with a kind heart, and Dear’s performance exemplifies what this cabaret preaches- honesty and passion. How can that not make you smile?
Matt-aphorically Speaking played at the New Globe Theatre for two nights only.