Reviewer: Mark McCulloch
Somewhere between a theatre show and a would-be pop concert, Sam Halmarack and the Miserablites brings songs that will move and inspire, a lightning fast journey that takes the audience from the depths of failure to a collective euphoria in the space of a few songs: as long as you’re willing to join along.
An early 90’s inspired staging, band name and costumes welcomes the audience to the space and Halmarack opens the performance not with a show stopping number, but an apology: his band The Miserablites have failed to appear on this, their big break. The atmosphere changes to one of deep empathy for the would-be front man, and this,his all-time personal low. It is not long though before the origins of the band are explored and the charm of the whole piece shines through, it’s something akin to that of a school garage band that has somehow made it out into the world, with all the enthusiasm but a fatal lack of vision to see it through. But, as the saying goes, the show must go on.
Halmarack is an utterly charming host, telling his tale, heart on his sleeve, through a rehearsal DVD, drums, glockenspiel and keyboard. It is not long before the audience becomes his band, following him through this journey of desperate lows, through exceptional highs to the last uplifting song with which the audience leaves, it ringing in their ears.
This utterly charming piece resonates, the life experiences doubtless experienced by most in the audience: harking back as it does to first loves, life’s staggering lows and the contrasting highs, it leaves you with food for thought and a song in your heart. A must see.