Tag: Michaela Burger

Review: APOCALYPSE MEOW: A Crisis is Born

Some Christmas kook for the Christmas cynic

By Leeor Adar

Few performers can request audience members to inflate plastic animals and giveth o’er their personal possessions, but cabaret queen Meow Meow does this and the audience giggles and obliges. Meow Meow’s personal charm aside, her performances are always memorable and mercurial in equal measure. Apocalypse Meow is a Meow Meow Christmas special, carting out tricks, music and orphans; no stone is left unturned.

The stage is a haphazard mess, affectionately (or not so) referred to as a “shelf”. A fire burns in a tv, there’s sheets everywhere and a band perches themselves at the ready in golden glitz uniform(they are fantastic). Meow Meow enters, all apologies and grandiosity. She was set for the Royal Albert Hall, but no room; Sydney Opera House? Forget it. She’s left with the Malthouse shelf, and this is where she will take us through to the end of time.

Conceptually, this show is a cracker. It’s the cynics guide to Christmas. But don’t you worry, cynicism doth crack, and sentimentality will floweth. Every Christmas cliché is carted out and thrown off kilter with Meow Meow, and it really is an anti-Christ-mas of belly laughs and shtick. There is a level of depth reached that at first is hard to imagine, her prerogative is to sift through the Hallmark holiday dregs and find the bonafide core of what it all means, usually through the lens of a child’s eyes. Deep down, does Meow Meow not hope and dream?

The show starts with large promises and an air of embarrassment; Alan Cumming, Rufus Wainwright and Jake Shears are set to appear, apparently, but instead Meow Meow finds herself greeted at the door by children singing Christmas carols. Meow Meow finally relents to the carollers and drags two orphans out to sing at her will alongside a boy mannequin. It’s very clever, and very funny. And just when I think Meow Meow is softening, she begins a rendition of Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand to scare the daylights out of the orphans – not to mention herself.

The descent is not over, and the arrival of her über talented doppelgänger (Michaela Burger) takes this show into a kooky Christmas variety show that would make the Kransky Sisters marvel. Anything goes in Meow Meow’s apocalyptic world of sparkles and dilapidation, so it is a pleasant surprise when tenderness rears its head towards the close of the show. My eyes water a little as things take a mellow turn, and Meow Meow’s gorgeous voice is soon replaced by her transforming into a child-like ballerina, dancing until the end of the show. 

Merry Christmas cynics.

You can catch her Christmas kook until Sunday 1 December. Tickets on sale:  https://malthousetheatre.com.au/whats-on/apocalypse-meow

Photography courtesy of Magnus Hastings

Michaela Burger and Greg Wain are EXPOSING EDITH

Be enraptured

By Jessica Cornish

Exposing Edith has returned for a short season at the beautiful Melba Spiegeltent. This captivating 70-minute cabaret blends a mixture of impersonation and interpretation through 14 songs and monologues to explore the life and lovers of Edith Piaf.

Exposing Edith.JPG

The work stars Michaela Burger as Piaf accompanied by Greg Wain on acoustic guitar, and this duo have created a beautiful theatre piece.

Burger’s vocals were outstanding. Her warm vibrato and vintage French pop sound filled the tent of mirrors as she sang a mixture of French and English songs. And with a little smoke and those mirrors you could even be forgiven for mistaking Ms Burger for the real deal as there is a striking resemblance between the performer and Piaf, with her dark braided hair and petite stature.

Wain was the perfect addition to accompany Ms Burger: he had a gentle stage presence and seamlessly incorporated some interesting chord colourings and strum patterns into the songs throughout the evening. The music was an utter joy to listen to throughout the night, and the pair even added their own flair to the traditional songs in cleverly playing around with the texture of sounds by incorporating loop pedals, echo and delay in to the performance.

Of course “La Vie En Rose” and “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” were powerful moments within the show and instantly recognisable to all audience members. However, don’t presume every song will be an Edith classic: for example, the performers open the show with a one-minute musical creation attempting to summarise large chunks of the performer’s life.

The lighting rig and set were minimalistic, and props were only a microphone, chair and a black feather boa. The performance space thus beautifully mirrored traditional performances from Edith herself, where one would find a vast stage with only the 4-foot-something French icon encased in a spotlight.

Exposing Edith is an excellent starting point for a new generation of music lovers to be exposed to the incredible life and songs of Edith Piaf, although potentially a little underwhelming to those more die-hard fans who already have a solid knowledge of the lady. However, the songstress’ story is cleverly told from the revealing perspectives of both the character and Ms Burger, and the music? It’s just stunning.

Dates:
Wednesday, 18 May – 7:00pm
Thursday, 19 May – 7:00pm
Friday, 20 May – 7:00pm
Saturday, 21 May – 7:00pm

Bookings:
Adult: $35
Concession: $30
Web: trybooking.com

Venue:
Circus Oz Home
35 Johnston Street
Collingwood , Victoria , 3066