Home-brewed cabaret hits the spot!
By Jen Coles
In presenting a homage of sorts to their favourite musical Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years, Drew Collet and Sophie Weiss have managed to create a truly creative and uniquely Australian piece of cabaret.
The Last Five Beers tells the story of two ex-lovers who are meeting for drinks after two years (unlike the original musical, which tells the story of the deconstruction of a relationship over five years).
Weiss and Collet have taken certain licences with the storytelling itself, taking the time to introduce themselves before the show ‘started,’ giving out free popcorn and cracking jokes at each other’s expense.
This may have seemed like an unnecessary deviation from starting the show, however they incorporated many aspects of the aforementioned jokes into the later story (for example, Sophie’s loud voice or Drew’s less-than-committed Jewish/American accents). This whole approach allowed the audience to get past the stigma of audience participation, as it was a vital part of their show.
Beginning at a restaurant, The Last Five Beers accurately captures the awkwardness of meeting an ex-lover. The pair heightened aspects of their personalities into new characters; Sophie emerged as a neurotic stress-head whereas Drew appeared too much of a relaxed bloke to really cope with that type of person, and so, it was clear early on the pair weren’t right for each other.
Still, the discussions of the good times versus the bad showed a nice quiet chemistry between Weiss and Drew, and a perfect explanation of why the relationship went south in the first place.
The cabaret itself was rich with a diverse range of music to inform the story, Weiss and Collet had ample time to showcase their incredible talents, and despite a few shaky moments, Collet recovered well to hold the stage for some of the more tender moments (in particular, a beautiful rendition of Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word).
Weiss has a phenomenal voice, which sometimes was too overpowering for the small space of the Club (but again, Collet had established this in the opening, so it was still funny).
Overall, the show was extremely humorous and felt very fresh and exciting to watch. The performers’ energy was matched by the expertise lighting and direction of Glenn Van Oosterom, and Simon Bruckard on piano was delightful in skill. This is a wonderful piece of cabaret not to be missed.
The Last Five Beers is playing this weekend at The Butterfly Club.
Thur – Sat 28-30 April- 7pm
Sun 1 May- 6pm