Getting ready for a hit
By Myron My
In Here Comes Your Man for the 2013 Melbourne Cabaret Festival, Alex Roe plays a hit man – a very successful hit man who has a slight career crisis when he meets the beautiful Abigail.
Roe has some good storytelling abilities and the twists and turns in his story were highly engaging without any lulls in this cabaret tale full of crime, death and love. Roe incorporates a nice level of dry humour and drama and seems very relaxed with his delivery and interaction with the audience.
As a performer, when you start to involve audience members in your act you do run the risk of inadvertently breaking character but watching Roe on stage, I did not feel as if he was an actor remembering his lines but found myself quite invested that this man really was a conflicted contract killer!
Here Comes Your Man has a good variety of songs but some of them did slow down the proceedings and cause Roe to lose the intensity he had built up, especially in the middle of the show. It seemed sometimes that either the song was not well-matched to Roe’s voice or it did not add to the story. However the songs where this was definitely not the case and were show highlights included Fairground Attraction’s ‘Perfect’ and (aptly) The Pixies’ ‘Here Comes Your Man’.
Roe is joined on staged by accompanist Tom Pitts and I honestly have never seen a pianist get so wonderfully involved into the music he is playing – his performance was flawless and fluid from beginning to end.
On this occasion, Here Comes Your Man was performed as a workshop season with Attic Erratic with plans of a full season run at the Melbourne Fringe Festival later this year. The concept is unique and interesting and Roe has the skill and charisma to eventually turn this show into the cabaret ‘hit’ it deserves to be.
This production took place on July 3 and 4 at The Butterfly Club as part of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival.
International star lights up our cabaret festival
By Myron My
Joey Arias’ Arias on Holidays was the perfect introduction to not only the 2013 Melbourne Cabaret Festival but also to Arias himself. Appearing in a haze of smoke and armed with nothing more than a piano (and a flashlight), Arias was captivating and from the second I heard his voice, I was hypnotized.
Arias’ jazz and blues tunes are quite breathtaking and he manages to fit in a few other unexpected songs that keeps us guessing as to what is coming up next with a cheeky rendition of a “Hard Day’s Night” by The Beatles proving to be a crowd favourite.
Arias’ repertoire for the night also includes songs from her time with Cirque De Soleil and her 2008 production Arias with a Twist – which sounds like a show that must be seen to be believed.
My favourite song of the evening was “Why Don’t You Do Right?” – most famously sung by Peggy Lee, but Arias owns it. Arias’ finale “Be My Baby” not only continued to showcase his massive talent but also some surprisingly great singing voices from the audience.
There’s no doubt that Arias is channeling Billie Holiday in his music choices and style, but amusing there is an occasional touch of Carol Channing in Arias’ voice too!
Arias is joined on stage by jazz piano virtuoso Jeremy Brenna and the rapport between them is quite frankly, hilarious. Their banter could have been a show on its own and it’s hard to believe they’ve only been working together a short time.
There were a few comically cringe-worthy moments in the show which included Arias shoving a microphone down an unsuspecting “volunteer’s’ trousers and singing into it but somehow Arias makes these all seem – er – ‘above board’…
New York cabaret icon Joey Arias’ Arias on Holiday was an evening of a lot of class and a little bit of crass, but either way, it was an enjoyable venture out for this year’s Melbourne Cabaret Festival.
Joey Arias performed on June 27 and 28th at Chapel Off Chapel as part of the 2013 Melbourne Cabaret Festival.