Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Friday, 15 May 2015
The Greatest Love of All, May 15, 2015 ****1/2
The Whitney Houston Show Athenaeum Theatre, until May 23, 2015 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: ****1/2 Full review also published online in Herald Sun on Mon May 18 then later in print. KH
Davids’ thrilling tones, consummate vocal control and staggering four-octave range
are as close as a singer can get to a replication of Whitney Houston’s voice.
Davids’ tribute show, The Greatest Love Of All, the bevy of Whitney fans were
delirious with delight at her channelling of Whitney’s recognisable voice and her
exhilarating performance of hits from Whitney’s 29-year career that ended
tragically in 2012.
repertoire includes: How Will I Know, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Where Do
Broken Hearts Go, Didn't We Almost Have It All, I'm Every Woman, Exhale (Shoop
Shoop), Step by Step with a finale of I Will Always Love You.
and charming Davids has an effortless, natural voice although, like Houston herself,
Davids had no formal vocal training – something that can lead to vocal damage as
it did for Whitney.
pays tribute to Whitney at ‘the top of her game’ rather than impersonating her,
and Davids’ vocal power, precision and exceptional range make her the queen of
the power ballad.
with passion and commitment, her rich, belting notes and electrifying top register
bring tears to the eyes and she masters Whitney’s signature ‘melisma’
– the technique of singing a single syllable while moving between notes.
she seems a little shy and nervous at the start, Davids charms and engages the
audience with her warmth and sassiness in a performance that is less vulnerable,
fragile and emotional than Whitney’s own delivery.
being in a theatre with limited aisle space, Davids encourages an entire
audience onto its feet to dance to How Will I Know If He Really Loves Me, then
again during Dance With Somebody.
remarkably effective and affecting moment, Davids sings the soaring and heartbreaking
hit, I Have Nothing, while standing in front of a mute video of Whitney performing
the same tune and wearing the same, elegant, ruby-red gown.
musical director Richard Baker, the on stage band is taut and assured, and
Hayden Baird’s evocative saxaphone accompanies Davids in a moving rendition of
I’m Saving All My Love.
male dancers are entertaining with their blend of acro-dance and hip-hop, but
the choreography for the two female dancers is often distracting.
breathtaking and tear jerking moments in this production in which the luminous
and accomplished Davids shines, and even non-Whitney fans will love it.