SentiMENTAL – Theatre Review

The definition of nostalgia is to have ‘a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past’.

Due to Covid making us miss the things that brought us joy in the past, we’ve been inflicted by many things that have somehow been unexpectedly revived (some against our will); Will & Grace had a revival season, Tamagotchi’s are back on the shelves, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion was super emotional, the Friends cast reuniting was long overdue (not for me) and apparently, they’re even making a Sex and the City reboot but without Kim Cattrall’s Samantha (the audacity!). Don’t even get me started on the cinematic box office thriving more on sequels than anything else this year (I’m looking at you, Fast & the Furious 9) and the re-release of James Cameron’s Avatar re-taking its world-wide highest-grossing mantle, despite the movie being initially released 12 years ago.

Grant Busé is aware of our desires for nostalgia, the marketing genius behind it, and his entire show is themed around it, titled ‘SentiMENTAL’, which is part of the 2021 Melbourne Cabaret Festival.

Unaccompanied and equipped with only a microphone, microphone stand, guitar, piano, mutant lungs, luscious locks, quick wit and his infectious smile, Grant Busé isn’t afraid to hold us accountable to our somewhat ‘ridiculous’ notions of nostalgic desire. Sure, there have been a lot of great things and moments in the past (yes, I too miss Cheez TV but not so much the Uncle Toby’s Roll-Ups), but Busé also shamelessly bluntly points out a lot of fucked up shit that we’re better off without and manages to remind us of how much humanity has progressed since then. Plus, all of this is done in good humour with original songs, sass, clever writing, unsuspecting surprise audience participation and cheeky natural comic timing.

For a show that was written and prepared for prior to Covid, and then being re-written, postponed, postponed again and rescheduled multiple times, SentiMENTAL is relevant now more than ever. It is clear that Grant Busé isn’t afraid to share what he dearly misses, is aware that his nostalgia may not be the same as ours and inspires the audience (if they weren’t already inspired or self-aware) to live in the moment because we may be dead tomorrow.

Despite being alone on-stage, Grant Busé is completely comfortable and at home. He never loses the audience’s attention and relishes in every second. I can’t even share a highlight, because all of it was marvellous, although I admittedly rebelled in not closing my eyes and pulling out my phone at a certain point of the show when Busé prompted the audience to do so to make a point. But this was because I was too busy ‘living in the moment’.

If you weren’t yet convinced you were having a good time at Grant Busé’s SentiMENTAL, he returns on-stage for an encore consisting of an iconic throw back dance mash-up which is both everything I never knew I wanted and needed until it was happening. I only hope that Grant Busé, like the message of his show, is ‘living for the now’ and is attentive and knowledgeable of all the social and pop-culture relevant things of today as well. And this includes learning all the K-Pop dances and are totally cool right now. You hear me, Grant Busé? I’m going to hold you accountable! I’m only (half) joking.

My only criticism is that the SentiMENTAL only had one show. One. We need more from this talented man. I will absolutely keep my ears open and my eyes peeled for anything else this clever man will conjure in future, because I’m already convinced that no matter what Grant Busé has in store for us, we are guaranteed for a good time.

Grant Busé’s SentiMENTAL was held at Prahran’s Chapel Off Chapel on Sunday the 27th of June at 3pm, as part of the 2021 Melbourne Cabaret Festival.

For more information on Grant Busé, visit: https://www.grantbuse.com
For more information on the Melbourne Cabaret Festival, visit: http://www.melbournecabaret.com

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