Review: ANGELA HARDING is Just Like You… Only Different

The finest Australian cabaret has to offer

By Myron My

Angela Harding’s Melbourne Cabaret Festival show Just Like You… Only Different takes the audience on a journey of the highs and lows of being a performer in the arts as well as touching on some more personal moments of Harding’s.

If she talks long enough then surely we’ll have something in common, Harding muses before beginning her first number for the night. Using a combination of original songs and some famous covers, her charismatic and endearing personality thus quickly spreads through the audience until we are a roomful of smiles and laughs.

Along for the ride is musical director and accompanist Mathew Frank, whose piano arrangements are flawless and add another dimension to the well-known songs that Harding performs, such as Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” and the sultry “At Last” by Etta James. The transitions between songs were smooth and well paced, giving us enough time to take in what we just heard and prepare us for the next brilliant tune.

Harding particularly shines with her original tunes, including the triple threat of being a “Singer, Actor, Dancer” whereupon she also takes to the piano. Seems to me Harding is more of a quadruple threat and should clearly add musician/song-writer to this list: “Silence” is a beautifully composed song and I don’t think anyone in the audience took a breath until that final note was sung.

The crowd almost brought the house down with their cheers as Harding sang her final number and I honestly have not heard an audience cheer like that for a very long time, except at sold-out large-scale music gigs.

Just Like You…Only Different is a joyous ride of Harding sharing her stories with her audience and no doubt deserves to be the winner of the 2011 Australian Cabaret Showcase. Keep an eye out for her future performances, for this lady belongs on stage.
Just Like You… Only Different was performed on the 20th – 21st July, 7:00pm at Chapel Off Chapel as part of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival 2012.