Tag: Gershwin



By Bradley Storer

A rich languorous voice in the darkness, calling and drawing listeners into the deep folds of blissful undisturbed slumber – as Melbourne cabaret mainstay Emma Clair Ford takes to the stage of The Butterfly Club in her latest work Laugh until I Cry, she trails her characteristic air of seductive mystery and refreshing emotional honesty, wrapped up in a honey-hued voice that thrills at the same time it soothes and relaxes.

Laugh Until I Cry

Laugh Until I Cry is a jazzy exploration of the anxiety-riddled emotional rollercoaster known as adulthood. What sets Ford apart from fellow and equally talented cabaret performers is the absolute economical tightness of her writing, in which not a word seems excessive or unnecessary but perfectly calibrated for maximum effect. Aided by Alister Smith‘s snappy direction, Ford unleashes torrents of manically-driven monologue and beautifully nonsensical dream imagery with admirable clarity and precise diction, the rich underlying musical soundscapes provided by accompanist Vicky Jacobs helping to take the audience on these imaginative journeys.

Ford herself is that contradictory combination of being radiantly charismatic at the same time she is intensely relatable and seemingly ordinary, blessed with a gorgeous voice and comic gift that can take Adele’s ‘Right as Rain’ from a jazzy jaunt into an adrenaline-crazed outburst worthy of Sondheim. Drawing on composers ranging from Gershwin and The Beatles all the way to Michael John LaChiusa, Ford takes us from one end of the day to the other, paralleling the journey from despair to acceptance and forgiveness of our own human frailties.

Laugh until I Cry, as its title implies, is an ultimately joyous celebration of the strength and fortitude needed to wade through even a single day of adult life, a great new work from an established cabaret artist which is mandatory viewing for any cabaret aficionado or those wishing to see cabaret in its purest and most creative form.
Venue: The Butterfly Club, 1 Carson Place, Melbourne.
Dates: 4th – 8th March
Times: Wednesday/Sunday 8pm, Thursday – Saturday 9pm
Tickets: Full $30, Concession $26, Members $25, Group 8+ $24

Review: KIM SMITH in Misfit

Dark, daring and divine

By Bradley Storer

Entering the Loft at Chapel off Chapel with his back to the audience, staring longingly into the spotlight overhead, Kim Smith instantly created a striking image of loneliness which befits a show with the title Misfit. From this apt starting point, the audience is taken on a dark journey through lost innocence, heart break and death.

Smith travelled through a wide range of material in English, German and French, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill – the classic Weill numbers ‘Surabaya Johnny’, ‘My Ship’ and ‘Pirate Jenny’ all make an appearance, each word delivered with crisp delectation.

This dark sensibility is brought even to the lightest of moments –  after riffing on his experiences in his adopted home, America, and his own bloody history, an hilariously un-PC Peter Allen number about moving to Dixie is chained onto the signature Billie Holliday song ‘Strange Fruit’, culminating in a powerfully chilling rendition of Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ which stunned the audience with its devastating subversion of the song’s hopeful sentiments.

Smith is a creature born from the Weimar cabaret tradition, with even contemporary songs delivered with a Germanic twist, laced with vulgarity and cynicism.

Smith himself is a sinister mix of Joel Grey circa Cabaret and the Cheshire Cat, a charmingly frightening figure with his own brand of subtle sexual charisma: truly the ‘misfit’ of the title. His voice is tightly controlled and wielded to maximum effect in every song he sings, and his banter with the audience left us all laughing hysterically.

My only criticism would be in the show’s penultimate song, The Supremes’ ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’ – while using contemporary songs in other contexts with hilarious results, this song is so far removed in both style and sentiment from the rest of Smith’s repertoire that it jars.

Other than this, Misfit is classic cabaret with an intense and charismatic star at its centre – don’t miss out!


Dates: 22 -24 June 7pm

Venue: Chapel off Chapel

Tickets: $40 Full, $35 Concession

Booking: www.chapeloffchapel.com.au

Phone: 03 8290 7000