By Colin Flaherty
“1000 songs in an hour” exclaims the blurb for The Shuffle Show. I wasn’t keeping count but Elena Gabrielle and Grant Busé certainly packed a hell of a lot of popular songs into their medleys. Wrapped in a story about a visit to the Apple Store Genius Bar, with two incredibly perky sales assistants, this was Jukebox Theatre for the Attention Deficit age.
Similar to the “4 Chord Songs” gimmick, they instead cleverly tied the songs together by topic (or a passing mention of that topic) so the basic tune wasn’t necessarily the same. Our Apple Geniuses used the idea of shuffled playlists to introduce the long medleys, which for the most part were sung straight with a little bit of mugging and slapstick. They relied on the recognition factor of the numerous songs to do the the comedic heavy lifting so this was not a demonstration of musical comedy in the funny song sense.
The majority of the humour in this show came from the story surrounding the songs which included wonderfully lame puns and some gentle social satire. The characters themselves were brilliantly up-themselves to add a nice bite to the jokes but they also lapsed into some amusingly embarrassing scenarios which gave them a little more depth than just being infallible Apple Robots. There were a few moments of audience interaction but sadly these were variations of bumping and grinding against an embarrassed punter while everyone else giggled and thanked the heavens that it wasn’t them.
Gabrielle and Busé were both awesome musical performers who sold the living hell out of the songs. Busé sang and provided guitar backing using various parts of the instrument while Gabrielle belted out her vocals with gusto. They later kicked things up a notch by ditching the guitar and going to a backing track, freeing them up to get more physical. Their comic timing got the job done and both revealed that they were both unafraid to shed some clothing to look silly.
With so much music packed into this show to fulfil the 1000 songs challenge it was quite a draining experience. The pair managed to keep the energy at 11 for the whole performance which kept the audience going on the leftover adrenaline. This was a fun show for all music fans that will have you tapping your toes and chuckling in equal measure.
The Shuffle Show is on at The 86 at 7:30pm until October 4.