Tag: Beyonce

REVIEW: The CuttingRoom Floor’s ALL THE SINGLE LAD(IE)S

Two intertwined tales of gender-bending

By Myron My

There are two stories that take place in All The Single Lad(ie)s, The Cutting Rooms Floor’s production for 2014 Melbourne Fringe Festival. One is drag show hosted by Tammy Packs (Braiden Dunn), who gives us some valuable life lessons and the other is set in a clothing store run by O (Verity Softly). The narrative of O looks at an incident at her store when a young man, V (Jack Walker), attempts to rob her at gun point. Things escalate from there and between every ‘chapter’ of this story, Tammy returns to the stage to dish out some advice whilst singing a few choice Beyoncé tracks that link back to the story.

All the Single Lad(ie)s

The expectations and power of gender are explored in a way which does not make judgments or accusations but instead, leaves you to your own devices to provoke thoughts and discussion. Looking at such themes, it is not surprising that Beyoncé’s music is used, herself as an artist being a highly successful, powerful and influential woman.

The writing by Zoe Hollyoak is strong during the Tammy scenes, but I felt the story of O and V needed some refining. I failed to be convinced at how events transpired, and the narrative flow did not feel organic. Moreover, I would have appreciated knowing the motivations of the characters in order to be able to make sense of their choices. However, there was some good acting by the two actors, especially during the more confronting and sexually charged scenes.

Meanwhile, Dunn seems completely at ease as the host(ess) with the most-ess, Tammy, especially with some of the audience interaction that occurs. His version of “If I Were A Boy” is quite touching and shows a softer side to the show and his character.

Scott Corbett’s direction makes great use of the stage, especially during the confronting final moments of the show which pack a powerful punch.

In both worlds in All The Single Lad(ie)s gender lines are reversed, blurred and smashed to a climatic ending. There are admirable and committed performances throughout, but I feel these performers could all have excelled with a slightly less-forced storyline.

Venue: Revolt, 12 Elizabeth St, Kensington

Season: Until 4 October | 8:00pm

Tickets: $20 Full | $15 Conc

Bookings: http://www.melbournefringe.com.au

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REVIEW: Ali McGregor’s LATE-NITE VARIETY-NITE NIGHT

Comedy cabaret compendium is a nite to remember

By Bradley Storer

Introduced by her sullen handmaiden Flaxen McGinty (Virginia Ginty), the radiant Ali McGregor sauntered down through the audience, serenading us with sensual song and sublime vocals.

Ali McGregor

Although more than capable of entertaining us all by herself, the former Opera Australia leading lady took to the stage to present a rotating cast of comedians, burlesque and cabaret performers in what has become one of the main-stay events of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

On this particular night there was a wonderful selection of talent on display. Matt Okine, last year’s Best Newcomer at the Comedy Festival, showed great comedic skill as he regaled us with the awkward tale of having an African father and a former Nazi Youth for a grandfather (‘he wasn’t Nazi enough that he killed Jews,’ Okine reassured us, ‘…Just enough to be pope’). With bright eyes and a cheeky smile, burlesque performer Agent Lynch unveiled an instrument McGregor later informed us was called a ‘vagilaphone’.

Renowned international cabaret duo EastEnd Cabaret dropped in for an exclusive performance, chanteuse Bernadette Byrne and her sidekick Victor Victoria raising the temperature of the evening with a saucy accordion cover of ‘I’m Too Sexy’. Comedian Dave Callan closed the night with a spontaneous, fully choreographed performance of Beyonce’s ‘Crazy in Love’, complete with back-up dancers, that brought down the house.

McGregor interspersed songs from her latest album throughout the show, including jazz and funk re-vamped versions of 80’s songs by The Prodigy and Salt ‘n’ Pepa. Her ‘buttress’ McGinty joined in on duets with her velvetly smooth voice, also taking centre stage herself to sing a cheeky tune dedicated to the virtues of her hand-crafted chair (to be understood in all its smutty glory, it must be seen in context). A true ‘late night’ show which combines ribaldry, entertainment and cheap low-brow humour all with a hint of classiness, a delicious cocktail of after-dark delights.

TIME: 10:30 (9:30 Sunday)

VENUE: The Famous Spiegeltent at the Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd

TICKETS: Thur/Sun $30, Fri/Sat $35, Conc Thur/Sun $25, Conc Fri/Sat $30, Group (6+) $25

BOOKING: www.ticketmaster.com.au, www.comedyfestival.com.au, Ticketmaster 1300 660 013, Arts Centre 1300 182 183, or at the venue.

REVIEW: Naomi Price in RUMOUR HAS IT

Adele unplugged and – uncensored…?!

By Myron My

Rumour Has It is an intimate cabaret performance with Adele. Or in other words, cabaret artist Naomi Price has brought her critically-acclaimed show to Melbourne.She enters on stage with her trademark ginger-beehive hairstyle and for the next hour we are treated to an intimate encounter with this foul-mouthed, platinum-selling, Grammy and Golden Globe-winning songstress (and Price’s Adele makes sure we know all this!)

Naomi Price

It’s an evening of girl power with Beyonce, Spice Girls and Amy Winehouse cheekily introduced as people who inspired her or whom she respects, whereupon their songs are all mashed up with Adele’s own music. One of the highlights would therefore have to be seeing Price impersonating Adele impersonating Celine Dion and belting out ‘My Heart Will Go On’…

However, as with any worthy cabaret ‘tribute’ show, there are also a number of the artist’s great classics including ‘Set Fire To The Rain’, ‘Rumour Has It’ and ‘Rolling In The Deep’. However, the showstopper was ‘Someone Like You’ which we had to wait for, with the haunting tune on piano teasing us for quite some time. Once performed, the room was filled with silence as we took in the greatness of what we had just seen and heard. As Price/Adele stated, this is Adele’s song and she/she gives it everything she has.

The most frustrating thing as an audience member was having people coming in up to 25 minutes late into a 60-minute performance but Price did not let this affect her, having some hilarious haughty banter with the latecomers (“I thought you’d be on time to my show”) and making it all feel like it is a part of the performance.

Price’s Rumour Has It is an evening of sassy and witty fun, and if Melbourne gets to enjoy a return season, you really don’t want to get there late. Not only will you miss out on some great cabaret but you may inadvertently end up with the spotlight on you, and that’s probably not something Adele wants…

Venue: Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran

Season: 8-9 Feb, 2013

Review: VICTORIA HEALY in Independent Woman Part 2

Girl power unplugged

By Myron My

In the back of Melbourne bar, Rue Bebelons, Victoria Healy takes to the stage to perform her 2012 Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, Independent Woman Part 2.

With a swagger of “girl power”-themed musical interludes, Healy discusses various moments of a young girl’s life when she begins to define herself as a woman. She’s not a girl, not yet a woman. All she needs is time…(and I’m going to stop there).

Beginning with “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, Healy reminisces about her glorious high school days where she would happily compare herself to Scary Spice and later, the unfortunate self-appointing membership to the girl gang; The Fish Crew. Oh, the folly of youth.

Healy continues to get in touch with her feminine side with the aide of asrtists like Shania Twain, Beyonce, and Corinne Bailey Rae. We see Healy’s trials and tribulations regarding hair maintenance, the efforts women will go to to win a jelly-wrestling competition (I really hope this story is true) and even rhythmic gymnastics gets an honourable mention.

On a technical note, my only criticism of the show would be the lighting. Just a touch brighter would have made a world of difference in my eyes – literally. Despite the small stage area, Healy uses it well and this is where you see her improvisation experience and knowledge come into play. The characters she creates throughout her stories, such as the racist who decides to eat in Chinatown, are well thought-out caricatures and deliver the laughs where needed. You almost forget that it’s a one-woman show at times due to their realness.

Ultimately this story is Healy’s journey to becoming a confident, sexy and dare I say it; independent (there, I did) woman. After the show, my two female companions spent a good half an hour not only discussing what Victoria had said but agreeing with it and relaying their similar experiences. At one point, I even found myself relating to things.

Regardless of your generational letter, with her warm and welcoming ways, it seems Healy’s Independent Woman Part 2 is hitting a chord with women and men alike. Zig-a-zag-ah!

VENUE
Rue Bebelons Upstairs
267 Little Lonsdale St
DATES
until 22 April
TIMES
Mon 6pm
Fri-Sun 9.45pm
PRICES
Full $20
 (Cheap Mondays $16)
BOOKINGS
Online or at the door

Review: ANA-LUCIA AND THE BARON (Episode One)

Bring on Episode Two!

By Bradley Storer

Lisa Nightingale returned with one final performance of her sell-out show, Ana-Lucia and the Baron: Episode One, previously seen at The Butterfly Club and brought back as part of the Butterfly @ Trades programme last night. Entering the stage to rapturous applause, Lisa began with an eerie Sondheim-style ode to her most treasured possessions: her precious diamonds (which Ana-Lucia repeatedly tells us she most certainly did not steal from the Baron!). From start to finish, the aptly-named Nightingale held the audience in the palm of her hand.

Playing the deliciously ditzy Frenchwoman Ana-Lucia, Nightingale is shamelessly entertaining in the best possible sense. Ana-Lucia is a saucy and cunning gold-digger in the mould of Lorelei Lee from Gentleman Prefer Blondes, a comparison highlighted by Ana-Lucia’s rendition of the classic ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ (here hilariously chained onto Travie McCoy’s ‘Billionaire). Her dubious French origin later provides the basis for a side-splitting Edith Piaf send-up which skewers every French stereotype imaginable. The enormously self-dramatizing heroine returns home while recovering from amnesia brought about by a mysterious accident – in hot pursuit is the dreaded Baron, who may or may not be her former lover. Ana-Lucia is aided during her moments of lapse by her partner-in-crime, Juan Pablo (pianist Trevor Jones) who chimes in at the appropriate moment to trigger flashbacks and lost memories.

Nightingale is a strong singer, her voice ably handling a range of songs from Cole Porter to Lady Gaga. Jones proves an appealing comic partner to her brassy but forgetful persona. Nightingale’s occasional memory lapses (not all of them scripted, I think) were quickly integrated into the comic exchanges between the two players, actually making complete sense in the context of the amnesiac character.

The real strength of the show was Ana-Lucia’s interactions with the audience, cast as the guests at Ana-Lucia’s ‘welcome home’ party. Nightingale engaged the audience in treasure hunts, party games and sing-alongs to great comic effect. She even managed to make a running gag of the continuous stream of late-comers entering the show, who were then forced to come to the front of the stage to receive party bags and hats. With such a strong command of her audience, it’s no wonder this show has sold out three previous seasons.

However, this strength also becomes a weakness at points – beginning with a series of giggle-inducing plot twists, the story meanders towards the middle of the show as the emphasis shifts to audience participation. In particular the inclusion of a Beyonce number, however funny and charmingly performed, seems unnecessary and slows down the action.

This quickly changes towards the finale of the show, ending on a climatic cliff-hanger which promises interesting revelations for Episode Two.

Ana-Lucia and the Baron (Episode One)

The New Ballroom, Trades Hall

Thur Sept 29, 7:30pm