Previously published reviews - 2012
This is a collection of reviews that were originally published on Cabaret Confessional in 2012.
Emma Dean and Jake Diefenbach in An End to Dreaming
Season continues until March 18
The latest collaboration from Brisbane based cabaret pop artists Emma Dean and Jake Diefenbach comes in a form of enthralling gothic fairytale. Their self-penned songs performed over five stages tell individual stories, but they also collectively paint a bigger picture of their transformation.
Accompanying themselves on keys and piano, their gradual emergence from despair to recovery to hope is told through songs and monologues. The show is highly theatrical with no direct interaction with the audience. However, Dean and Diefenbach engage everyone through their superbly written numbers, taking them to the enchanted forest and each step of their transition. The emotions they sing about ring true and feel exquisitely real, yet, the story also brims with a sense of magic. Their ethereal vocals and the sounds of piano blend flawlessly to create a bewitching world of their own.
There is no doubt that these two immensely gifted performers will continue to take Australian contemporary cabaret to new heights. An End to Dreaming is a wondrous piece of storytelling and an experience not to be missed.
Published on March 18, 2012. Read the original post here.
Short + Sweet Cabaret - Just a Little Something I’ve Been Working On
After being crowned the overall winner as well as picking up Best Writing and People’s Choice Awards at 2011 Short+Sweet Cabaret, Ruth Wilkin is in fine form in this full-length version of the same show at La Bohème.
Wilkin goes to town portraying an eccentric, peanut-loving, Orlando Bloom-obsessed performer in this hilarious satire on cabaret with talented Trevor Jones on piano.
She recounts her failed attempts at getting into musical theatre both as a cast and crew member. Then comes a light bulb moment, when it dawns on her that she can just write her own cabaret and have the spotlight to herself. With misguided enthusiasm and a mic stand that’s semi-attached to her throughout the show, she dishes out odd advice on how to write that smash hit, interspersed with catchy original tunes, slapstick humour and a bit of Rick Astley.
There is a fine line between deranged and passionate. Wilkin treads it precariously and brings in truckloads of belly laughs.
Just a Little Something I’ve Been Working On is a fun, light and charming show that will have you come out of it smiling ear to ear.
Published on March 16, 2012. Read the original post here.
An Unexpected Variety Show
The Light Hotel
Season continues until March 17
There are few bells and whistles in An Unexpected Variety Show but it has an ever-present and pounding heart.
The show chronicles a few curve balls that life threw at Jenny Wynter. She embarks on a whirlwind adventure as she takes the audience through her unplanned pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood and a burgeoning career in showbusiness.
She asks a few pertinent questions - can she have a family as well as her dreams? Is it possible to be a mum, a wife AND a star?
Each of her songs stories, let it be knee-slapping funny, keenly observant, self-deprecatingly introspective or breathtakingly tender, is told with genuine emotions. In between her formidable comedic prowess are intensely poignant moments – when she ‘shares’ the stage with her deceased mother, it stands out in particular. She demonstrates how we could continue to learn from those who have passed is an amazing human experience and captures that complex sentiment by presenting it in a recognisable and tangible form.
Wynter’s journey takes the people deep into questions about humanity. Her willingness to open herself up completely connects her to the audience. With teething issues on the opening night all smoothed out, she keeps everyone captivated from start to finish.
Being able to share an honest story that speaks to the soul is the most important part of cabaret and An Unexpected Variety Show does exactly that. It's a deeply touching show that invites people to laugh, cry, share back and heal.
Written with Libby King
Published on March 12, 2012. Read the original post here.
WE LOVE YOU! (as much as everybody else does)
Season continues to March 10
Ghostboy, the self-proclaimed “neo-cabaret and spoken weird artist”, is a peculiar blend of creepy, articulate, poetic, insolent, unpredictable, sensitive and hilarious. He is a walking contradiction and very much in-your-face. He is also committed to making as many Clipsal references as possible and humiliating his ex-partner/accompanist Sir Lady Grantham along with a few other men in the house.
As he performs his daring solo set that drips with black humour, he keeps everyone on their toes. In La Bohème's intimate space, Ghostboy takes a few sips out of a drink on the table, plants a kiss on the cheek, hurls insults, sobs uncontrollably in a tight embrace and makes a guy to take his shirt off as he works the crowd. The whole room is at times shell-shocked by his antics, but he gives just enough time for the audience to compose themselves, absorb the offbeat, yet insightful spoken words and click along to the hypnotic chant.
The ever-obliging Sir Lady Grantham is an exceptional multi-instrumentalist with flowing locks in a fetching frock.
He can do more with his outrageous material and has what it takes to be a peerless frontrunner in this type of dark contemporary cabaret. It’s not for the easily overwhelmed or the faint-hearted, but WE LOVE YOU! (and everybody else does) has a very bold concept and definitely offers something out of the ordinary.
Published on March 7, 2012. Read the original post here.
Queer: The Wicked Webs We Weave
Higher Ground - Art Base
Season continues to March 16
The second solo cabaret offering from Chaeles Sanders (directed by Velalien) asks to ponder one of life's most perennially baffling questions – what drives people to an endless loop of self-destruction when they know all too well that it’ll end in tears?
This carefully crafted show examines the above-mentioned intricate theme in four separate scenarios. It's punctuated by edgy arrangements of songs by artists, such as Garbage, Prince, Nick Cave, Divynals and The Dresden Dolls, as well as spoken words.
As Sanders traverses between charismatic and vulnerable, he unflinchingly challenges the audience as he presents the tales of those that get impossibly tangled up in their own “wicked webs” in his own distinct glam-rock style. He gives an all-consuming, emotionally nuanced performance.
The three-piece band featuring Logan Watt, Hannah Bennett and Tim Overton plays seamlessly throughout the show.
The stories he tells are intense. They demand attention and elicit reflection from the audience on their own vicious cycle, past or present. Queer: The Wicked Web We Weave is a well-executed, confronting piece of cabaret that leaves a lingering afterthought.
Published on March 5, 2012. Read the original post here.