Review: Nancy & Beth, Palace Theatre, Manchester
On paper, it sounds confusing. Two American women perform songs that span rap (Gucci Mane, Run DMC) country (George Jones) and tunes from classic songwriters (Joni Mitchell, Rufus Wainwright). Confusing, right?
One of the women is best-known over here as Karen Walker, the shrill socialite with no filter from US TV sit-com Will & Grace. The other is relatively unknown in the UK. They are Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt, but together they call themselves Nancy & Beth. Yep, still a head scratcher.
However, all you really need to know is that the whole musical mix provides one of the most fun, feel-good evenings I’ve experienced in a long time.
With joyful nods to the girl group era of the 40s and 50s, mixed with a dash of Dixie Chicks to two parts Patsy Cline, Nancy & Beth and their excellent five-strong band happily meander through songs that might not be overly familiar but certainly make their mark.
The laid-back chat in-between songs is so off the cuff that it almost feels like they’ve wandered into the theatre by accident, but somehow it all works. There’s no front, and from the moment they skip onto the stage you immediately like this pair.
Every song is enhanced by artful choreography (they are freakishly pliable) that never gets in the way of the music. The most impressive factors are the strong vocals and gorgeous harmonies. Passionate, emotional, cheeky and never once sounding breathless despite the impressive aerobic movements.
There’s an infectious joy about this show. The bulk of the audience went in not knowing what to expect but came out devoted fans. Job done.
Nancy & Beth’s new album is available to buy on iTunes
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