Sing On Through Tomorrow is a collection of composer/performer Matthew Lee Robinson’s earliest work; songs that first appeared in his cabaret shows, along with selections from his first full-length musical, Metro Street.
Flourish Productions is presenting this revue as part of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival, and much like the recently seen Songs from a New World, this unrelated series of numbers runs the gamut from hilarious to devastating. From passionate to silly. From social commentary to social awkwardness. It’s a showcase of Matthew’s ability to pen a tune and craft a lyric.
I’ve been following Matthew’s work for a number of years now and I’ve seen many of these songs performed live by some of Australian musical theatre’s finest performers. The selections from his first musical Metro Street can feel strange, outside the context of that show’s narrative. And yet in the hands of Eddie Grey, “As Night Descends” is a powerful song about the disintegration of a relationship – without the story to back it up. Eddie also elicited the biggest laughs of the night with the very crowd-pleasing “Boyband” from Matthew’s more recent work Happy People.
The tonal shifts between songs can be a little jarring, though. To follow an ode to boybands with the devastating “Dignity” seemed very strange to me, though singer Alana Tranter nailed the raw emotion of the latter song. The earlier pair of “Just Say” (sung by Eddie Grey) and “Happy” (sung by Genevieve Kingsford) seemed a better fit; the songs almost making comment on each other, without really being related.
There were some mic issues on the night I saw the show and the sound mix unfortunately led to the music drowning out the singers in some parts. Overall, though, Flourish Productions has gathered a fine ensemble to showcase this variety night of songs from lyricist/composer who is on the verge of much better things.