Wednesday, 7 October 1998
More of a Little & Marlene by Jeanne Little, Oct 7 1998
At Capers Restaurant
More of a Little: Wed-Sat October 7-17,
Marlene: October 11 &12
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Jeanne Little has broad vowels that go on forever daaaaarling - and she's faaaaabulous! This reviewer did not expect to be so genuinely entertained by the mouth with the eyelashes who won a Gold Logie by wearing gladbags on Midday television with Mike Walsh and John Michael Howson.
Little is a truly warm and engaging cabaret performer and she can sing! Really! Who'd have expected such a rich controlled lower register to come from that rasping shrillness and nasal twang?
Her often hilarious narrative about her rise from poverty to Superstardom is intercut tastefully with familiar tunes: I get a Kick Out Of You, I Get Along Without You Very Well, You're The Cream in My Coffee. Some are comic, such as The Worst Pies in Sydney and Put It Back On, about the tubby stripper and Facelift, about a nip and tuck gone wrong.
Others touch a more serious note. I'll Be Here Tomorrow from Jerry Girls, which she performed for three years in Sydney with Judie Connelly and Marcia Hines, is a song with poignant lyrics which became the theme of the battle against AIDS.
Her version of Piaf's La Vie En Rose is also a part of her Marlene show which is showing the weekend of October 11 and 12. Evidently it is well worth a visit having been a hit in Sydney, the San Francisco cabaret festival and - well, all over really.
Jeanne's life story becomes a litany of shriekingly funny muddles, disasters and surprise successes. Her exploding pies at the Easter show, J.M Howson flying through the air in a pink suit, her fried permed hair, her first see-through plastic dress: all are hilarious. She even managed the biggest hoots from a gag about being near death. That's comic class!
Her second calling as a fashion design guru is evident on stage. Her outfits range from the elegant to the grotesque: a glorious silver lame gown follows a bizarre fat stripper costume.
Her miraculous survivor mother had a favourite expression. "It's not failure that's the problem. It's low ambition." Here is a very talented comic cabaret artist a la Carole Channing who has not been taken seriously here in Melbourne since she did that dreadful Sleeman-Ford commercial. It's time to forgive and forget. Jeanne Little rules! And the food is faaaabulous!