Sunday, 22 June 2014

Melissa Langton, Melbourne Cabaret Festival 2014

A Singer Must Die by Melissa Langton
Melbourne Cabaret Festival 2014
I reviewed this show last year and it is great. See previous full review from Sept 25, 2013 below.
The original blog entry is here: 

A Singer Must Die...And Other Bedtime Stories, by Melissa Langton & Mark Jones

Chapel off Chapel, Sept 24 until Sept 29, 2013

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: 4

In her intelligently structured and irreverent solo show, A Singer Must Die... and other bedtime stories, Melissa Langton explores songs from the dark side – tempered with plenty of black comedy.

Langton is an audacious, impressive music theatre/cabaret performer and this production, directed by her equally accomplished partner, Mark Jones, showcases her prodigious talent.

She opens with Leonard Cohen’s A Singer Must Die, a bleak but witty tune that features a disenchanted singer who laments, “I’m sorry for smudging the air with my song.”

Accompanied by her talented pianist, Stephen Gray, Langton shifts effortlessly from bold jazz numbers, to gospel, latin beats and ballads, commanding the space with her formidable voice, broad vocal range and assured, professional and passionate delivery.

The themes may be grim – disillusion, death, despair, failed love, revenge – but Langton peppers the show with waggish, whimsical or brooding characters that weave their stories of woe amongst the lyrics.

In the perky I Don’t Think I’ll End It All Today, Langton airily sings about choosing not to suicide, then later sings Chuck Brodsky’s riotously vengeful number, Blow ‘Em Away, as a demented, dumped lover.

She delivers with passion the power ballad, Waiting for Charlie to Come Home (Bacharach/David), and then, portraying a widow mourning her husband, breaks our hearts by merging the two poignant songs, It Was A Good Time (Jarre) and Who Gave You Permission? (Bergman/Goldenberg).

There is plenty of fire and brimstone with Here Comes the Flood (Hannon) and Jacques Brel’s mischievous tune, Le Diable (Ca Va), that celebrates the business of wickedness from the devil’s viewpoint.

Did Jesus Have A Sister (Dory Previn) is a provocative and funny tune, while Internet Love (Dillie Keane) reminds women not to lie in their internet dating profiles, and Betty and Tom tells an eccentric love story about a bearded lady and her four-inch tall lover.

Burned (Franz Landesman) is a startling, moving and poetic piece that challenges us with forbidding, dark lyrics such as, “He burned me with his conman’s hands...his holy madman’s eyes.”

A Singer Must Die is a funny and stirring show that beautifully balances complex songs and uncomfortable subject matter with quirky characters, dialogue and Langton’s remarkable voice.

By Kate Herbert

A Singer Must Die – Leonard Cohen
I Don’t Think I’ll End It All Today – Harold Arlen/Yip Harburg
The Art Teacher – Rufus Wainwright
Did Jesus Have A Sister – Dory Previn
Through the Long and Sleepless Night – Neil Hannon
Waiting for Charlie to Come Home – Burt Bacharach/Hal David
Internet Love – Dillie Keane
Here Comes the Flood – Neil Hannon
Le Diable (Ca Va) – Jacques Brel
It Was A Good Time – Maurice Jarre
Who Gave You Permission? – Alan & Marilyn Bergman/ Billy Goldenberg
Blow ‘Em Away – Chuck Brodsky
Highwayman – Jimmy Webb
The Doctor – Loudon Wainwright
 Betty and Tom a love story
Burned - Franz Landesman

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