Tag: Tim Cunniffe

REVIEW: Fancy Meeting You at THE BUTTERFLY CLUB

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: Analisa Bell in GOLD-DIGGER

Digging for festival gold in Melbourne, cabaret-style…

By Deborah Langley

 After two sell-out seasons in Perth, cabaret starlet Analisa Bell has brought her cabaret spoof Gold-Digger to Melbourne for the International Comedy Festival. The intimate and wonderfully quirky Butterfly Club is the perfect setting for this show as we are welcomed at the door to Rosie’s house. But Rosie who?

Rosie Port-e-lou (the infamous wife of mining magnate, Sam Bankock – you with us yet?) makes a grand entrance with a robust version of Hey Big Spender, asking audience members, “How about a few laps?” with a politically incorrect and hilarious accent which guarantees all the laughs instead.

The first half of the show is dedicated solely to the life and times of Rosie as she moves from the Philippines to marry a millionaire in Western Australia. This is material which I’m sure gained much more interest in Perth than it will in Melbourne but Bell’s magical voice and terrible accent moved things along, albeit slowly.

It isn’t until Rosie storms out halfway through that this show really begins to shine. Audiences are in for a treat when she jumps back onto stage to teach us all how to catch a man and keep him as this seemingly standard cabaret turns into a twisted revue, complete with dancing pooches, audience interaction and free lollypops (to practice the sucky sucky!).

With some wonderful musical arrangements and interesting lyrical changes the music is the standout of this production. The awkward, but obviously talented accompanist Tim Cunniffe proves a weird straight-man to this surprising show which will leave you shaking your head but smiling at the same time.

Gold-Digger: The Shags to Riches of Australia’s Iron ‘ore is being performed as part of the Comedy Festival from March 31-April 3 at The Butterfly Club in South Melbourne. 7pm (6pm Sun) and bookings can be made online: www.thebutterflyclub.com