For one sensational night only, Broadway and West End star Hayden Tee presented a musical deep-dive into the bad guys of fiction at the Dunstan Playhouse.
The proud descendent of Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Tuwharetoa is the quintessential nice guy who has made a successful career of villainy. Tee has starred as many iconic bad guys, including Javert (Les Misérables), Miss Trunchball (Matilda), and Captain Hook (Peter Pan). So, creating Bad Guy, a show that reveals the tenets of musical theatre’s odious characters, is fitting
With impeccable live accompaniment from Jackie (Cello), Sonya (Violin), Nick (Double Bass), Chris (Drums), Sam (Guitar/ Mandolin), and Musical Director Nigel Ubrihien (Piano/ Piano Accordion), Tee dazzled with his impressive high baritone vocals and enchanting personality.
Opening the show with a villainous mash-up of Bad by Michael Jackson, Want to be Evil by Eartha Kitt, and Persuasion by Richard Thompson, Tee dove straight into the drama. The following hour was a journey through pop music, musical theatre, and memories.
Embracing his Takatāpui identity (Takatāpui, the Maori word for LGBTQIA+), Tee wore his heart on his sleeve as he discussed the construct of good versus bad. Moreso, the impact of being Takatāpui upon the perspectives.
We witnessed vulnerability and raw emotion as he spoke of the impact of colonisation upon his identity. However, we also sang along to his take on pop songs such as Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy, Radiohead’s Creep, The Police’s Every Breath You Take, and Dave Dobbyn’s Language. And we revelled in theatre classics, Poor Unfortunate Souls (The Little Mermaid) and The Smell of Rebellion (Matilda) among others.
There was a symbiotic balance between music and storytelling. This set the pace and tone of the show and ensured interest was sustained. To be fair, when Tee performs, one cannot not be interested. His powerful rendition of Javert’s Stars from Les Misérables generated resounding applause with reason. His talent is undeniable.
Concluding the show with exuberant interpretations of Those Were the Good Old Days (Damn Yankees) and The Human Heart (Once on This Island), a mutual appreciation permeated through the theatre. Hayden Tee is one Bad Guy who is genuinely a good guy.
Adelaide Cabaret Festival Review By Anita Kertes