Tag: Celine Dion

Midsumma Festival 2017: PLAYING TO WIN

Witty, winsome – and definitely winning

By Myron My

Ash Flanders is confessedly one confused performer as he struggles to stay optimistic in a society and industry that like to chew people up before spitting them out in an instant. Presented as part of this year’s Midsumma Festival, Playing To Win has Flanders – in a wonderful kitten leotard – holding his cabaret audience hostage as he recalls the lowlights and the lower-lights of being in said industry, resulting in an evening of great songs and engaging storytelling.

Playing to Win.jpg

For the most part, Flanders draws on his own personal experiences with fame and success – including a tragically hilarious story involving Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy – but he also looks at the idolisation of reality-TV-star celebrities, particularly those who are famous for no discernible reasons. His send-up of Gina Liano’s “Gina” perfume ad is a great touch in emphasising his frustrations at slipping down the black hole of failure.

Admirably supported by musical director Dave Barclay and band Artistic Difference, Flanders has a select choice of songs that are used cleverly to colour and characterise his stories, including memorable performances of “Ride Like The Wind” by Christopher Cross and “Where Does My Heart Beat Now” by Celine Dion. The final song of the night (which is better as a surprise) succeeds in bringing his story full circle and includes some brilliant audience interactions.

Flanders does give his all in Playing To Win, and while it is full of satisfying sarcasm and cheeky comedy, there is an emotional aspect to his storytelling and a genuine openness in what he shares with us. In one way, his humour can be see as a defence mechanism on display, further highlighting his vulnerability. While Flanders might “only” be performing in the smallest venue at the Arts Centre, he is definitely destined for bigger things and bigger rooms, and Playing To Win is profound evidence of that.

Playing To Win was performed at Arts Centre Melbourne between 27 – 29 January 2017.

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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: Sophie Walsh-Harrington is THE DAMSEL IN SHINING ARMOUR

An act of chivalry, bravery, comedy – and Celine Dion

By Kim Edwards

In all the best off-beat, edgy, witty and unlikely ways, The Damsel in Shining Armour is wonderful award-winning Fringe-esque comedy. Gagged and bound for her opening number, Sophie Walsh-Harrington promptly rescues herself from her bonds and her audience from their prosaic lives and sweeps us all into a modern musical melodrama with just the right amount of self-satire.

The great charm of the show is Walsh-Harrington herself, who enchants us with knightly tales of real-world romance where her laconic and satirical comic delivery is contrasted delightfully with outrageous physical humour, and punctuated with the reworked epic ballads of Celine Dion. Blessed with a rich and effortless voice, particularly in her lush lower register, our damsel fearlessly saves Celine from cabaret contempt with some clever musical arrangements and neat segues from story to lyrics.

The unique performance space of La Mama offered director Tom Dickins wonderful dramatic possibilities for unexpected direction and blocking, and beautiful Jen Kingwell is both an impressive musical ally and a lovely stage presence in the show.

Some of the show’s devices are more successful than others, and the narrative that has been so engaging and funny has a little trouble getting back up on the white steed after a particularly poignant moment, but the arch and over-arching charm of the performance is beguiling.

Ultimately, the show’s heroic skill at predicting and preventing cliches, drawing cleverly unconventional connections between anecdotes and songs, and Walsh-Harrington’s unwavering commitment to her material and character dub this damsel’s quest a triumphant knight’s entertainment.

The Damsel in Shining Armour won Best Cabaret for Adelaide Fringe 2011 and is now in Melbourne for the Comedy Festival.

Written and performed by Sophie Walsh-Harrington
Directed by Tom Dickins
Musical Director: Jennifer Kingwell
Tech and Lighting: Bec Etchell

La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday St, Carlton
Wed April 6 – Sun April 17
Wed & Fri 6.30pm; Thurs & Sat 8.30pm, Suns 4.30pm
Duration: 60 mins approx.
Tickets: $25 / $15
Bookings: 9347 6142 / comedyfestival.com.au
For more information: www.lamama.com.au or http://sophiewalshharrington.com/