It is difficult to describe what Bradley Storer is like as a performer. Because it's not as much about what you see and hear, as it is what you experience.
Storer has been treading the cabaret boards for a decade; sharing stories and responding to the wild world we all live in. Storer possesses an unfathomable amount of stage prowess, with an ability to completely draw in the audience whilst delivering songs with ethereal vocal magnificence.
Exhumed presents Storer as a combination of two faces - the loveable, sweet and dorky 'Emcee', and the prince of darkness that sings songs that seem to come up from the depths of his deepest emotions. From the very beginning, Storer is breathtakingly captivating - hauntingly travelling from the back of the theatre with a candle lit lantern, singing 'Hushabye Mountain', then slowly segueing into the most magnificent version of Arcade Fire's 'Wake Up' anyone will ever witness in their lifetime.
At this point it would be amiss to not mention the stunning creatives surrounding Storer's magnificent performance. Flanked by musicians Reuben Morgan (violin), Cameron Bajraktarevic-Hayward (cello) and David Butler (piano), every song has been shaped in a way to match Storer's love for dark haunting melodies. Butler is to be highly praised for his stunning work on the musical arrangements, displaying a strong connection to Storer's musical stylings - a truely stunning partnership.
When in small cabaret venues, it's not often that sound is something that stands out as particularly impressive given the oft-limited resources available. On sound, Patrick Slee shows a true understanding of how to balance a vocal inside of a beautiful mix of strings and piano. During the musical items, Storer's voice sits perfectly inside Butler's arrangements, in a way that you expect to hear on a studio recording. Lighting design by Sandro Falce provides an appropriate amount of drama for the most part, however a few striking choices sometimes harshly cut the show a little bit black and pink/green.
Bradley Storer is to be commended for his ten years of craftsmanship. Displaying as much darkness and depth as one would expect from Hedwig Robinson, this show isn't so much a 'best of' as it is a trip through Storer's deepest and most tenebrous emotions. One can only hope that the next step is an album. Because honestly, these arrangements deserve to breathe in much larger and magnificent spaces than small cabaret venues.
EXHUMED: The ‘Best’ of Bradley Storer is playing as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2023 at The Butterfly Club until October 8. Tickets and further information can be found here.