Tag: New York cabaret


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.

Joey Arias

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.


Well-crafted cabaret nostalgia for the great jazz era

By Myron My

Fancy Meeting You is a cabaret set in a New York 1930’s jazz bar where the three employees of the bar – the Maitre D, the showgirl and the musician – share their stories of love to the beautiful music of Harold Arlen.

There is strong chemistry between the three stars, Amalie O’Hara, Kathleen Douglas and Izaak Lim as Maitre d’, Showgirl and Musician respectively while each character struggles with their own concept of love, for Miss Lucille (the Maitre d’) is pregnant and single, Maggie May Adams (the Showgirl) has a fleeting encounter with a stranger and Abe (the Musician) is losing the man he is in love with.

O’Hara is particularly strong as the Maitre d’ and demands your attention when she is on stage. In contrast, you have the aloof pretty showgirl in Douglas who offers the lighter moments of the show. Lim, who also performs some of the music, finds the nuances of his character and makes you feel the pathos he is trying to bring to the surface.

All three have strong voices, give exceptional performances when singing alone and complement each other when singing together. The great strength of Fancy Meeting You as cabaret is that the songs selected help further the story and show the feelings, desires and vulnerability of the characters. The accompanying piano skills of Tim Cunniffe are flawless and delightful throughout the show.

It wouldn’t be a homage to Harold Arlen without performing what is his most famous song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” – the song that even to this day gives me goose bumps when I hear it.

Despite its fame and frequent use in cabaret, the trio manage to evoke the same yearning here that Judy Garland did when she sang the song – an impressive achievement.

In its homage to the Great American Songbook, Fancy Meeting You has strong performances and tunes that leave you with a bittersweet feeling by the end of it. A rich cabaret experience.

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank Street, South Melbourne

Season: Until 18 November | 7:00pm, Sun 6:00pm

Tickets: $23 Full | $20 Concession

Bookings: http://thebutterflyclub.com

Review: HEY WORLD, HERE I AM – The Streisand Story

Australian artist Avigail Herman celebrates our favourite Funny Girl

By Kate Boston-Smith

 There is no faulting Avigail Herman’s vocal ability and technique. A mainstay of Australian music and theatre, people are more likely to recognize her voice than her name, and it is with this exceptional voice and her tremendous talent that she channels Streisand into the room with us for this year’s Melbourne Cabaret Festival

Performing in a difficult space, Herman opens her heart through the songs of Barbra Streisand to her audience. Herman is a true professional in every sense of the word. This show is classic and sleek and Herman is as intelligent as she is talented. 

As the show title suggests, she tell stories of Streisand and her 40-year career while flawlessly covering her beloved and expansive body of music, including classics we all know and love to more obscure numbers that are playful and fun.

Lovers and fans of the stage and Hollywood diva will be on the edge of their seat as each song starts, and again when it finishes as there no knowing where Herman is going to take us next on this journey. The Streisand-uninitiated will enjoy learning about this incredible woman, all she has achieved and where she has come from. 

Songs are breath-taking and wonderfully recognizable.  At times I heard audience members singing along, tapping their feet and at one point, holding their beloveds in romantic embraces.

It was a beautiful show, and ideal for those wanting to be transported to a New York cabaret lounge for an hour of the wintery evening.

Performed by Avigail Herman and accompanied by Peter Bailey

Tonight and Sunday 24 July, 9.15pm

Tickets: $38 / $35

The Liber Room next to the South Melbourne Library (opposite Town Hall)