Some people are just meant to be on stage. Justin Vivian Bond and Anthony Roth Costanzo are two prime examples of this. Both are effervescent, their passion and enjoyment for performing is contagious. Looking round the stripped back yet beautifully preserved Wilton’s Music Hall it’s full of beaming faces, proving that is really is impossible not be moved by their honesty on stage and their vocal performance.
The pair are two very different but brilliant singers, their voices are almost opposites in terms of timbre on top with being ‘only an octave apart’. They are also a generational talent in cabaret singing and a world-renowned opera countertenor respectively, meaning that Bond and Costanzo have very different styles of singing, but this unique contrast works wonderfully. The marriage of Bond’s smoky sound with Costanzo’s powerful classical tone makes for an ideal double act. Bond is like a ‘fairy godmother’ to Costanzo’s innocent yet charming stage persona. Their rapport is hilarious and compelling in their story telling and comedy between songs. The pair sing a rendition of Dido’s Lament mixed with White Flag. This perfectly sums up the how the two worlds represented by each performer, pop and opera, classical and contemporary, come together in harmony.
Daniel Schlosberg and Nico Muhly’s arrangements are well constructed,fitting the two voices superbly. This alongside an exceptional live band,including harp, makes for extremely satisfying and high-quality music.
The show has minimal design elements, but still clear physical and emotional context is provided with colour wash. John Torres’ lighting design ensures the audience are very much a part of the evening, with the auditorium lit for the majority of the performance. Jonathan Anderson’s elaborate and numerous costumes are fabulous, creating a standout element, beautifully observed for the different moments of the piece. A well-deserved shout out should also go to the stage management and wardrobe team, managed by Sadie Jenkins. Under their supervision, several difficult costume changes are executed with perfection.
Only an Octave Apart is an evening of musical comedy, cabaret singing and theatricality. Having transferred from New York the show features a collection of classical, opera, pop and jazz tunes. It really is a sassy but melodious evening that delivers us a rip-roaring and varied performance.
Directed and Co-Created by: Zach Winokur
Musical Direction by: Daniel Schlosberg
Set Design by: Carlos Soto
Lighting Design by: John Torres
Sound Design by: Lucy Baker & Ed Lewis
Costumes by: Jonathan Anderson for JW Anderson and LOEWE
Arrangements by: Nico Muhly
Music Supervision by: Thomas Bartlett
Only An Octave Apart plays at Wilton’s Music Hall until 22 October. Further information and bookings can be found here.