Charlie Petch is a true unique, in a world that doesn’t have enough of them: a spoken word artist and saw player for The Silver Hearts with a brash voice, a winking bawdy sense of humour, and razor-sharp identity politics. Their mostly one-person play, Mel Malarkey Gets the Bum’s Rush, is a distinctly, uniquely Petchian work, and it now finds new life as a spoken word album.
The play and the album tell the tale of the final performance of the Vagabond Theatre, a Depression-era vaudeville house, and explore Malarkey’s own tragic history, looking for a place where their particular particularness will be accepted.
Translating a work from one medium to another is always a challenge, but the album uses its medium to create a fuller sonic palette, including sound effects, echo to simulate the mostly empty theatre, and a full band, whose sleepy ragtime really help to centre the work in its Depression-era setting and mood.
All images courtesy the artist.