Will Hannagan, the Prince of Pop Song Pastiche, returns to The Butterfly Club with Affluenza with a brand new offering for Midsumma Festival 2015.
With a pantomimic “Swoosh!” we are transported from the intimate cabaret club, to an equally intimate television studio. Here we are implicated as an unwitting studio audience of Hannagan’s orphans (or-FANS) for a special edition taping of Shades of Beige with Robbie Sinclair, Hollywood’s premier light entertainment chat show. There is an excited tension in the air as we await the launch of Hannagan’s new album, Affluenza, as well as the titular tell-all interview set to mark Hannagan’s long-awaited return to the spotlight.
Between takes, the show shifts into a somewhat meta-theatrical gear, as Hannagan and co-star Robbie Ten Eyck, as the exceedingly camp Robbie Sinclair, drop their ham-fisted American accents and, as “themselves”, tinker with Will’s life story, editing on the fly to concoct the most shocking and scandalous string of drug abuse, murder and political scandals possible – for maximum tabloid impact.
Hannagan, bling-ed to the nines and bronzed even further delivers a knock-out performance as the ex-Disney-child-star-turned-drug-addled-club-kid on the road to redemption. Hannagan’s outstanding song-writing talent, coupled with the musical mastery of Thibaud Mateos, makes his new pop album entirely viable, and Hannagan’s own unstoppable energy and vocal prowess is undermined only by a sadly lack-lustre sound system, which fails to provide his thumping synth-pop dance tracks with the punch they deserve.
Robbie Ten Eyck provides solid support as Will’s long-suffering friend-come-mock television presenter, and the chemistry of the two provides the basis for a deliciously silly, yet thought-provoking indictment of fame, celebrity and middle-class consumerist culture.