Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Cabaret Festival Gala, June 26, 2013 ****

Melbourne Cabaret Festival Opening Gala. Festival runs June 26 to July 7, 2013 Wed June 26, 2013, Palais Theatre, St. Kilda
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Review also published in Herald Sun online on July 27, 2013 and possibly later in print. KH

 Mary Wilson (R)
If you’re delirious about cabaret, the 4th Melbourne Cabaret Festival will tempt you with delights including a queen of Motown, a transvestite Annie, a New York cabaret icon, a Tony award winner, burlesque artistes, and assorted other risquรจ, provocative or melodic acts.

The Festival Gala provided a titillating taster that culminated with the regal Mary Wilson from The Supremes who, clad elegantly in red lame and white fur, sang tunes from her show, Stormy Weather: The Lena Horne Project.

Wilson, with her versatile jazz-blues tones, easy charm and skilful storytelling, sang a poignant rendition of Stormy Weather and an impassioned version of The Man I Love, followed by the moving Yesterday When I Was Young.

One of my faves was American composer/performer, David Pomeranz, performing a sweet, cheeky song from his solo musical,
Chaplin: A Life – in Concert, in which he plays all 40 characters; he left the audience craving more.

Another of my picks was Melbourne’s hilariously sassy, voluptuous Yana Alana, who took singing the blues literally, wearing only a coat of blue paint as she sang I’m Blue then, in her inimitable, bold and provocative burlesque, Life Is A One Woman Show.

 Yana Alana

Debonair, engaging Adam Guettel, the Tony award-winning composer/lyricist, treated the audience to unheard songs from his new musicals, including Find Me, a pretty ballad about a child longing for his departed mother.

Slick, New York cabaret star, Joey Arias, looked mysterious and spectral in his black gown, singing a Billie Holiday blues in his lush, smoky voice, then shifted pace to tease the crowd with naughty titillation and a raunchy version of Hard Day’s Night.

Other acts at the gala included Trevor Ashley wearing a red wig and frock in an excerpt from his adult panto, Little Orphan TrAshley, a twisted take on Annie performed with Rhonda Burchmore as the jaded, raddled Miss Trannigan.

The confrontational Spanky peppered tough, rock cabaret with bawdy talk, but, if your taste is more conservative, you may lean towards jazz harpist-singer, Tara Minton.

Bradley McCaw is a playful, young pianist/singer and Gala host, Fem Belling, belts out a mean version of Rain On My Parade from her show about Blossom Dearie.

With a menu of 150 performers, over 60 shows and 16 venues over 2 weeks, you’ll have no trouble finding a performance to suit your cabaret tastes.

By Kate Herbert  

 Adam Guettel
David Pomeranz

No comments:

Post a Comment