Forgetting Tim Minchin - Belvoir 25A (NSW)
Directed by Amy Sole. Book, Music & Lyrics by Jules Orcullo.
Reviewed by Justin Clarke
Belvoir’s 25A Theatre, Surry Hills Until 29th July, 2023
- “Dear Tim,
Forgetting Tim Minchin is a gem of a show, led artfully by its writer and star, Jules Orcullo.” -
From the very beginning of Forgetting Tim Minchin, writer, musician and lyricist Jules Orcullo prefaces that they have never in fact met Tim Minchin, Australia’s musical and theatrical shining gem. Furthermore, this entire story is made up, and therein lies the crux of the show’s secret. Orcullo gifts their audience from the beginning a lens through which to view this meta-fiction, metamusical production, and prepare yourself for its not to be spoiled ending.
Jules (played by Orcullo but most definitely not Orcullo) moved home during the pandemic to pursue a career as an artist - don’t worry, they're acutely aware of the timing too. Spending most days scrolling through social media, Jules’ mother (Nova Raboy) enters sporadically to collect washing, ultimately decorating the stage with it and enriching the piece with metaphor. Exasperated at the weight of writing, a fateful night rediscovers Jules’ idolisation of Tim Minchin. After a musical tribute to Minchin goes viral, Jules is suddenly working with the man himself and with it, the many questions of creating new fictional works in a modern world.
Images by Clare Hawley
Under the direction of Amy Sole, audiences are warped into the intimate space of Jules’ bedroom, and a story that deeply resonates and induces sniffles and tears by the show’s end. Whilst audiences prepare themselves for a straightforward tale of an artist pursuing theatre, there is something else eating away at the edges. The lines between reality and dreams are blurred as Jules and Tim’s collaboration reaches breaking point; the ending lands with a powerful but delicately handled punch that produces very real emotions from those around you.
Taking the stage for Minchin, Orcullo proves that she is adept at leading their own works. She is at once, both endearing and relaxed, genuinely funny and heartfelt. There is something of a love letter to musical theatre writers, particularly in Jules’ “I want…” song, which blends Sondheim with Shwartz, with hints of Jonathan Larson and references the current omniscient theatre head, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Orcullo captivates with their lyrics and music, mostly pre-recorded and sung by them throughout. It’s clear that Orcullo has a talent in their voice, their riffs and belts just bubbling beneath the surface but yet to explode effectively.
Much like its namesake, Forgetting Tim Minchin is smart, witty and led by its potential.
The best moment musically in the show comes from Orcullo playing their own song live, the dedication to Minchin. The rest of the show is sung over tracks, which feels like a truly missed opportunity for Orcullo to come into their own on stage, proving to be truly at home behind the piano. Between Sole and Orcullo, there is developed to be had to make this a lasting piece in the Australian canon of independent work, and it's a joy that collaborations such as this can be given the platform to do so in spaces such as 25A.
Much like its namesake, Forgetting Tim Minchin is smart, witty and led by its potential, encompassing a uniquely original world of storytelling. It’s heartfelt, cathartic and vulnerable and ultimately speaks to the human desire for artistic passion and the desire to make something of importance for both our own identity and those we hold closest.
Jules Orcullo (she/they) - Book, Music & Lyrics
Amy Sole (They/Them) - Director
Andy Freeborn (They/Them) - Musical Director
Lauren Nalty (she/her) - Movement Director
Hailley Hunt (she/her) - Set & Costume Designer
Kate Baldwin (she/they) - Lighting Designer
Christine Pan (she/they) -Sound Designer
Jess Ramsey (they/she) - Assistant Director
Jules Orcullo (she/they)
Nova Raboy (she/her)
MANAGEMENT & TECHNICAL
Clare Sheridan (she/her) - Stage Manager
Mia Barnes (they/them) - Stage Manager
Kaleigh DWS Giles (she/her) - Producer
Rizcel Gagawanan (she/her) - Marketing Manager
Gareth Sole (he/him) - Construction Manager