Charming, witty and with a voice that fills the Forum Theatre, Megan Mullally presents a mix of cabaret classics interspersed with conversation and gossip, hosted and accompanied by Seth Rudetsky. An Evening with Megan Mullally is a true showcase of Mullally’s diverse talents in an unexpected setting.
While Mullally is most famous for playing the bitchy, pill-popping Karen Walker on Will & Grace, it’s surprising to realise that she sounds nothing like the high-pitched maniac that we all grew to love on TV, and that the sitcom actually finished 13 years ago. At 54 years old, Mullally is now a classy, composed performer more recently appearing in Bob’s Burgers, 30 Rock and stars opposite her husband Nick Offerman in Parks and Recreation. She’s also done a couple of Broadway stints, including Grease, where she met Rudetsky.
It’s astounding that Mullally’s not better known in Australia for her talent as a singer. In her band called Nancy and Beth she stars alongside actress and singer Stephanie Hunt, who also makes an appearance in the show. Their on-stage chemistry is perfect, and their performance is soulful and incredibly powerful.
The conversation between Rudetsky and Mullally covers everything from her career as a ballet dancer to the roles she played pre-Will & Grace, with Mullally admitting that she’s played in a string of bad movies. The banter between the two comedians is fun, but feels rather artificial at times and it’s obvious when Mullally is asked an unplanned question. Regardless, her anecdotes about the entertainment industry keep the show lively and interesting. Mullally’s sense of humour is surprisingly dry, and she quips: “I hardly said a word til I was like, 39!”
Just as it seemed that Karen Walker fans had to let go of any chance of revival, the conversation turns to antics on Will & Grace. After the sitcom finished, Karen: The Musical was created, which came to a halt when the rights to the character were revoked. Mullally performs a number that was to feature in the show, a highlight of the evening for diehard Karen fans. Undoubtedly it was a dream realised for most of the audience to hear her famous cackle and lunacy that made the character so popular.