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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

The Songs of Neylon & Peele at Chapel Off Chapel

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts’ graduates Conor Neylon and Jackson Peele are the future of fresh musical theatre.

Photos by James Reiser

So far, the pair has written four musicals (and been nominated for four Green Room Awards), which formed the basis of their two-night appearance at Chapel Off Chapel.

Adept instrumentalists, Neylon tickled the ivories, while Peele played guitar and mandolin.

They bounced off each other and had fun.

They are both talented, personable and highly enthusiastic. And, they are storytellers.

The 75-minute show – with nine numbers each side of a 20-minute interval – told us a little of how they got to this point in their emerging careers.

That included how they first came together, Neylon “escaping” to Darwin, turning in assignments at the 11thhour and writers’ block.

The “raw” elements of the production exposed some of the voice memos the duo had exchanged.

For those who hadn’t seen them before, Neylon and Peele contextualised the songs on the program.

Frankly, it made me want to experience each of the musicals – The Beep Test, Beau Wants to be a Billionaire, Kate, Gus & The Other Kids and The House on Fire at the Edge of the World – individually.

Around them, in Prahran, were a couple of other gifted musos in Miro Lauritz and Patrick Jaffe and a four-strong cast.

The latter assumed the identities of the key players in each of the musicals, waxing and waning between the shows, as the set list dictated.

What struck me most was the emotion that Noah Janssen, Sheridan Adams, Ahila Navaratnam and Kyle Colburn were able to inject into their performances.

Sure, the voices had to be there, but so too expression and attitude … and I saw that in spades and appreciated it.

From ballads to bangers, from the poignant to the prophetic, the future is bright for Neylon & Peele. I, for one, want to see more of them.


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