Tag: marriage equality

REVIEW: Ruth Wilkin’s TRUE STORY

Truth is stranger than cabaret

By Myron My

Living up to its name, True Story begins with just that. Projected on the wall in the performance space are numerous headlines of strange events that have actually happened. Some are pop-culture references, some seem a little weird, and some are just plain bizarre, such as the man who jumped in a puddle and died (I really need to google this to find out how exactly)…

Cabaret performer and songwriter Ruth Wilkin is highly personable on stage and possesses a natural presence that garners your attention. She does very well with the different vocal demands of each song and really pushes the various emotions required from them, from sadness to joy and all the ones in between. However, I feel the lyrics to some songs are a letdown at times and seem a little awkward, including her piece about Tokyo Disneyland support for marriage equality.

True Story

Accompanying Wilkin on piano is Barney Reiter (Short + Sweet Cabaret 2012 and Suitcases, Baggage and Other Synonyms) and yet again, he does not disappoint. The blending in of some better-known tunes into the original music is seamless and the ease with which Reiter plays is always impressive to watch.

Wilkin does well to keep the pace interesting and fun throughout True Story. Between songs, she shares some anecdotes from her life or other interesting true stories, some of which are a little spooky. Wilkin also includes a few hilarious real customer review segments on random household items, such as a banana slicer that changes lives and a male hair-removal cream that should not be used on just any part of the body…

Yet, I would have liked to see some more linking within the show as a whole. The tales did not seem to flow from one to the other with some stories mentioned and then immediately forgotten abou,t and in other cases, a song being performed with the story behind it not being very clear.

I really like the concept of Wilkin’s show and she has a strong appealing voice and the skill and charisma to create entertaining shows. Despite its small flaws, True Story is an enjoyable hour of lighthearted cabaret fun.

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 256 Collins St (entry via Carson Place), Melbourne
Season: Until 27 October | Sat 7:00pm, Sun 6:00pm
Tickets: $23 Full | $20 Conc
Bookings: http://www.thebutterflyclub.com

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REVIEW: Melbourne Cabaret Festival’s CLOSING GALA

Olympians, Oprah and marriage equality in fabulous festival finale

By Bradley Storer

The stars of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival joined together at Ormond Hall on the festival’s closing night to raise funds for and support the cause for Marriage Equality.

Tara Minton, a British-based Australian harpist and singer, played selections from her festival show about the songs of Joni Mitchell, enchanting with her ethereal arrangements of ‘Woodstock’ and ‘Smitten’ and a voice that combined delicacy with a surprising power. Karin ‘Danger’ Muiznieks showed off the breadth of her range (as well as a dead on Piaf impression) in a tune that summarised the highs and lows of the Festival accompanied by Cameron Thomas.

Jon Jackson astonished the audience with his incredible range in an Etta James classic and a heartfelt song about the joys of marriage and children (made all the poignant by Jackson’s remarks about the inability to marry his partner of fifteen years). Cabaret diva Tina del Twist (the drag alter-ego of Wes Snelling) took to the stage with an imaginary back up band, crooning snatches of songs in a voice of spine-tingling power, in between bouts of wandering the stage in an absent-minded haze that felt like a three-act play in itself!

After intermission international drag cabaret star Spanky re-opened proceedings with some rock’n’roll sexiness as she sauntered through the crowd, accompanied by guitarist Robert Tripolino, before stunning with the Madonna tune ‘Revolver’ from his 2012 Green Room award-winning show Candice McQueen. Jazz chanteuse Jade Leonard took to the stage with her self-penned gay anthem ‘Equal Love’ before announcing her engagement to drag performer Art Simone (also present on the night) and inviting the audience to their nuptials at the next Equal Love Rally.

Matthew Mitcham as MC for the evening charmed with a ukulele mash-up of Kylie tunes for his opening, and guided the rest of the event with awkwardly adorable enthusiasm. This being a fundraiser for marriage equality Mitcham played to certain elements of the crowd, performing an impromptu striptease to ‘Barbie Girl’ (accompanied on the harp by Minton) which I’m sure left half the audience with spontaneous pregnancy. Later he showed off more of his… ahem… ‘assets’… during the auction which raised prices significantly!

Closing Gala

The night closed with a special guest performance by Oprah (played by Rachel Dunham), fresh from her Melbourne Cabaret season in Oprahfication, who regaled us with tales of starting out as a young black woman in television and bringing the house down with a voice that shook the rafters.

An incredible end to one of Australia’s fastest growing festivals, displaying the phenomenal talent on offer every year.

 Venue: Ormond Hall, 557 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Date: 7th July 2013

Time: 7:45pm