"Adore Handel is the incorrigible pansexual, time travelling songbird and raconteur" begins Handel, bedazzled in a costume that looks like a 17th Century justacorps from outer-space. Adore Handel's Little Black Book is a light hearted 50 minute romp through an eclectic range of musical choices, all linked to Handel's long list of lovers.
Being a time-traveller, Handel's scandalous stories span all kinds of intimate encounters, with each time period flagged by a popular song of the era - with a twist. All of the musical choices are either parodies of Classical/Victorian classics, or Bridgerton-esque transformations of more modern pop songs. There is no denying, the vocals of Handel (played by lyrical baritone Luke Belle) are delightfully delicious. Lovers of classical musical will revel in the warm and lush vocal tones that carry each melody through the venue.
The costume (designed by Maddy Connellan) Handel is wearing is stunning. An update on Handel's previous signature costume - this design fully embraces the concept of a time-traveller in love with their 'home century' fashions. There is so much detail in this costume - from the two-sided bell sleeves, to the silver lace trim at the wrist and ruff. Not to mention the gorgeous late 17th century-style wig by Jutta Schmitz. This whole ensemble provides so much pizzazz that it almost deserves it's own bow.
Lighting is a bit odd - with the house lights remaining on for most of the performance. Being so visible whilst sitting in the audience is a bit disconcerting and also draws the eye easily to other objects of interest in the room; which in the downstairs performance space at The Butterfly Club - is a lot.
The storyline itself is a little uninspired - a twist on a standard 'this is my list of date stories' cliche, it is difficult to provide a truely new angle on this typical structure. Perhaps if there was more of a schtick - referring back to commentary on life in the 17th/18th century or similar, it would find it's own unique feet. Nevertheless, Adore Handel's Little Black Book is a delightful way to spend 50 minutes laughing at cheeky behaviour, gasping at scandalous stories and listing to lush vocals.
Adore Handel's Little Black Book is playing at The Butterfly Club as part of the 2023 Melbourne Fringe Festival until October 22nd. Tickets and further information can be found here.