I dare you to see Under the Rainbow: Spectacular! Spectacular! by The Jane Austen Argument and not have the pants charmed off you. This show highlights, yet again, the enormous talent of Jen Kingwell and Tom Dickins, who front this gorgeous grunge-cabaret outfit.
Unlike a previous show I’d seen by The Jane Austen Argument, which showcased their ability to seamlessly entwine songs with spoken word, this show delivers a delightful smorgasbord of songs in the minor key. There are certainly still themes of loss and lamentation but this show is more upbeat, energetic and slightly darker. Rounding the music out to include a drummer and a violoncellist has also endowed the songs with two arms and two legs, so to speak, and somehow they seem more complete.
Tom Dickins dressed in the garb of a rock god has a voice that takes you high, teases and lets you linger, and then drops you down like you’re nothing, like he’s nothing, like we’re all nothing. All in perfect tone and character with the songs. He’s simply sublime. Jen Kingwell dressed in a retro wedding dress is all sweet and demure which belies her grungy tones and wicked keyboard playing. Not to be outshined by Dickins she’s a helluva musician and performer herself. I guess The Jane Austen Argument are really just the sweetest archangels you ever could meet.
Director Kat Henry has added some beautiful new elements to the duo’s performance space. The clever addition of two physical performers, subtle and cohesive, provides the song narratives with more depth and character. Not to give too much away but the shadow puppets are exquisite and I just love the understatement of the physical movements throughout. Goes to show, less really is more.
I’m not sure what else to say here. Sure I could keep waxing lyrical about this dynamic duo but I reckon you should just do yourself a huge favour and get down to Studio 246 and see them for yourself. Go. Now!