Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Let’s Do It! Women With Standards, Crown Casino, Dec 19, 2006

 Let’s Do It! by Women With Standards
The Palms at Crown, Tues to Sun, Dec 19 to Dec 24, 2006
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Take a night off from late night Christmas shopping and parties to see Women With Standards before they close on Christmas Eve. They are worth the trip. 

These four talented professional singers offer a startlingly entertaining and slick jazz cabaret show. Their voices blend deliciously in complex, four-part harmonies that will make your hair stand on end.

The quartet introduces innovative vocal arrangements enhanced by a tight and understated jazz trio of double bass, drums and piano. They sing jazz standards, soul numbers, medleys of sappy love ballads and the odd original song or rewritten lyrics. All are accompanied by stylish yet simple choreography.

They are good-looking, sleek, sophisticated and sassy, each having an individual style, character and personal story to tell. In the first half, they are garbed in eye-catching, jewel-coloured gowns and they open with dreamy harmonies in My Mamma Done Told Me, I’m Every Woman and Girl Talk.

They tease us with cheeky patter; “ I bet you think you’ve got us tabbed: the lesbian, the mum, the bitch and the air-head.” Well, two of these are true but these women are much more than stereotypes. I called them The Mum, The Blonde, Skinny and Spike (Naomi Eyers, Lee McAlistair, Melissa McCraig, Libby O’Donovan).

They do an exciting scat version of I Got The World On A String, a slow and sultry Che Sera Sera then a comical series of lyrics for women to live by, including Keep Young And Beautiful and Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.

McCraig and Eyers do a cute medley of duets such as Baby It’s Cold Outside and Don’t Go Breaking My Heart. McAlistair sings a smoky-voiced Saving All My Love For You and O’Donovan belts a hot Gospel song, Are You Ready For A Miracle.

Eyers set our spines tingling with her soaring vocals in Aretha Franklin’s Respect and McCraig croons the sad ballad, What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life.

These women have super singing credentials, coming from The Fabulous Singlettes and other cabaret groups. The voices are phenomenally powerful and versatile and each woman is engaging. Their comic patter could do with some editing or directing but Let’s Do It! is a happy Christmas surprise package.

By Kate Herbert

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