The Q – Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre
Friday 6th October 2017.
Reviewed by Bill Stephens
Husband and wife duo, Paul Martel and Jane Scali, have been treading the boards on and off stage for over 20 years around Australia in clubs, casinos and cruise liners. Between them they’ve won 17 MO Awards, and judging on their performance at the Q, it’s not difficult to see why.
Their act is slick, fast moving, polished and professional. Working to recorded backing tapes, they quickly establish an easy rapport with their audience. Martell possesses an attractive and flexible baritone voice, well suited to his choice of songs which ranged from Richard Rodgers’ “The Lady is a Tramp” through to a clever version of Anthony Newley’s “Talk to the Animals”, which he used as the theme for a series of very funny vocal impressions of the likes of Silvester Stallone, W.C.Fields, John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Between songs he regaled his audience with a string of jokes that were fresh, genuinely funny, topical, and refreshingly clean.
Looking a million dollars in a figure hugging green sequin dress, the first of three stunning outfits she wears during the act, Scali impressed with her rendition of the Amando Manzanero classic, “It’s Impossible”. Many associate this song with Shirley Bassey, and Scali’s interpretation lost nothing in comparison. She also delighted with a bouncy version of the Fred Ebb song “Sara Lee”.
Later in the program she sang a charming selection of popular Italian songs in deference to her heritage. Throughout they linked the songs and jokes with affectionate husband and wife banter with the occasional romantic duet, creating an atmosphere in which their audience felt comfortable gently singing along, rather than being harangued to join in.
Theirs is a class act which left their appreciative audience longing for more. Which perhaps explains why the Q’s “Morning Melodies” initiative under Stephen Pikes careful curatorship, which this year included similarly polished and professional acts from Joey Fimmano, Luke Kennedy and Melody Beck, has developed such a loyal and appreciative return audience?