Five Minutes With Bryce Halliday
If you saw Dan Ilic and Brendan Maclean’s ‘Monorail’ film clip for A Rational Fear, you’ll recognize Bryce from his cameo role as ‘befuddled punter #1’ – but he also arranged the music. Rather than assume he was indoctrinated in the womb via Cole Porter songs, we thought we’d find out what really happened, ahead of his new one-man show – The Bryce Is Right. It turns out it was a combination of piano lessons, school concerts and roles in high-school musicals Fiddler on the Roof and My Fair Lady.
Where did you train? After high school I spent a year doing odd jobs, playing in bands and doing amateur musicals. I wanted to study acting and music so AIM’s Music Theatre course seemed the place to do both. I’m generally quite unfit for getting a real job.
Name three things that blew your mind, creatively: Ben Folds Five’s self-titled album – when I was 14 I was given a copy, I’ve been in love with it ever since and I know every note of it; Tim Minchin – he is a masterclass on everything I’ve ever wanted to do; and the DVD of the 2006 Broadway revival of Sondheim’s Company – it changed the way I think about theatre. This production didn’t have an orchestra, all the actors accompany themselves on instruments, and it’s seamless. That seamless transition between playing and acting is partly what I’m trying to emulate with The Bryce Is Right. I wander away from the piano a lot but use a loop pedal to keep the music going.
What was the inspiration for this show? Originally it was just a funny title but then I started thinking about what it is to be ‘right’. Then I got interested in why people are often incapable of admitting they’re wrong. I researched it a lot and I went and tricked myself into making that the theme of the show! Why does being wrong feel so right?
Who makes your list? I talk about David Icke and other conspiracy theorists and people who predicted the world was going to end, like Harold Camping. There’s schadenfreude in making fun of these people who we dismiss as nutters but I also try to point the finger at myself and the times I’ve been totally off the mark. That’s the through line but I wander off the path a lot. I talk about Facebook, Kony, Shakespeare and funny figures of speech. Really if you want to hear some jazz standards, show tunes and some original numbers then you should come but if you want that plus a whole lot of madness tying them together this show was written for you.
Give us a playlist to help get us in the mood for the show (please): Tom Waits’ ‘Emotional Weather Report’; Ben Folds Five’s ‘Philosophy’; the cast recording of Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly’s Matilda the Musical; watch any of Reggie Watts’ appearances on Conan to see somebody much better at using loop pedals than me; and listen to Shirley Bassey’s rendition of ‘Nobody Does It Like Me’. Which will be in the show. But I’m not Shirley Bassey. Or Trevor Ashley.
What: The Bryce Is Right, showing in a double bill with Quiet Companions
Where: New Theatre / King St, Newtown
When: July 25-28, 8pm nightly