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.