Tag: tribute show

REVIEW: Ashleigh Kreveld is FRANKLY WINEHOUSE

Resurrecting a remarkable artist

By Jessica Cornish

So I never had the chance to see the real Amy Winehouse perform in a world away from television or youtube, but Ashleigh Kreveld certainly gave it a great crack in recreating the experience for me. Fitted out with a cheeky British accent, gold hoops, painted eyeliner and of course the signature beehive and red lips, she lived delightfully up to the illusion of an intimate encounter with Ms. Winehouse.

Frankly Winehouse

Ashleigh’s portrayals of her iconic songs were distinctly impressive: she gave a solid performance throughout, and particularly shone vocally in the higher to mid-range numbers, such as the tricky variations on the jazz standard “Round Midnight”. With such competent vocal skill, I would have even been happy to see more numbers added to the mix. Moreover, Ashleigh’s acting and conviction particularly shone during her songs. The standout for the evening was her powerful rendition of “I Heard Love is Blind”, recounting a one nightstand Winehouse had whilst her troubled husband was in jail.

Ashleigh likewise captured the audience retelling tales of her character’s volatile and destructive relationship with hubby Blake, and how he introduced her to the world of A class drugs after their marriage. I think my favourite moments were when these real-life stories played out in the cabaret: when hearing these bits and pieces of her life, you can’t help but want save this girl from darker times to come…

That said, the dialogue became a little bit uncomfortable and didn’t always make clear sense at times: lines such as “(I dressed) more like a black Jewish man” may even have been authentic quotes, but were lost without context upon me and my friend. No doubt it comes with being an adoring over-protective fan of hers, however I couldn’t help feeling that overall the late Amy’s character was being slightly cheated. No-one could deny that she suffered from a myriad of disorders and issues, but of course there was more to this woman and performer than just addiction after addiction. It would have been nice to see more of her character development and history explored, and more light and shade found in the complexity of the famous Winehouse persona, rather than just focusing on her constant vices and woes.

However for me, this is one of the best Fringe shows currently going around: Frankly Winehouse was an entertaining hour well spent, and reminded me poignantly of how amazing Amy Winehouse was . Along with the impressive title performer, the space was used intelligently, the blocking was really effective, and the lighting design worked admirably for the intimate cabaret setting. And of course, it couldn’t have been an Amy Winehouse tribute night without those solid renditions of her more commercial hits such as “Rehab”, her well-known Zutton’s cover of “Valerie”, and the infamous “Fuck Me Pumps”. If you’re also an Amy fan, there’s still a couple nights to catch Frankly Winehouse in action at The Butterfly Club for the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Dates: Until Sun 27 Sept, 10pm

Venue: The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, off Little Collins St (between Swanston & Elizabeth) in the Melbourne CBD.

Bookings: Melbourne Fringe

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REVIEW: Alexandra Keddie in I SEE ME; AND MERYL STREEP

Ambition, audacity and well-crafted comedy

By Myron My

Everyone has had an actor, singer, athlete or celebrity of some sort that they idolised and dreamed of becoming. As people get older they generally grow out of the fantasy, but not 17-year old Alexandra Keddie. She maintains she wants to be Hollywood actor, Meryl Streep – or at least be just like her. Welcome to her new cabaret I See Me; and Meryl Streep.

I See Me; and Meryl Streep

The stage immediately reminded me of when I was a teenager (and my own bedroom was adorned with posters, and memorabilia from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). On display, Keddie appears to have copies of every single film Streep has ever made, photos and posters, cushions and clothing with her face printed on them, and a signed framed image of her too. The finishing touch is the “Mountain to Meryl” chart, where she has a picture of Meryl’s face at the top of a mountain and her own at the bottom. Each time Keddie’s character perfects a new skill or accent in her cabaret quest, she climbs up the mountain, inching closer to her idol.

At one point in her tale, Keddie takes us through “The Many Voices of Meryl” and this is by far the highlight of the show. She is not only performing in a complex variety of accents, but she is performing them as Streep would, and it is truly uncanny how much she sounds like the three-time Oscar winner. When she reenacts her Margaret Thatcher and Miranda Priestley, you could close your eyes and swear you were listening to The Iron Lady and The Devil Wears Prada. The simple costume choices used for each role are also highly effective.

When not being brilliant in her mimicry of Streep, Keddie convincingly toes the fine line between portraying an innocent fan and an obsessed fanatic. Sure, the glint in her eyes and the way she speaks when talking about Streep may sometimes scream ‘stalker!’, but at the same time, the desperation in her voice and the desire to be successful add the nuances of an upcoming artist who has simply found someone who truly inspires her. There were a couple of moments though, where I felt unsure as to what Keddie was trying to say, more so with the inclusion of material about John Cazale. Up until that point I had not known who this person was or that he was such an influence on Streep, and unfortunately I felt the link between them wasn’t made very clear.

Keddie is either legitimately a huge fan of Streep herself or has spent much time researching her in order to be able to weave anecdotal stories of Streep and her Hollywood career together so seamlessly overall  in I See Me; and Meryl Streep. This is an extremely clever and humorous show not only delving into the world of fandom but also offering some insight into the life of a young woman who has a dream to be ‘someone’. And after all, what is so wrong with that?

The premiere season of I See Me; and Meryl Streep was performed at The Butterfly Club, 3 – 7 June 2015.

REVIEW: Sarah-Louise Young is JULIE, MADLY, DEEPLY

Practically perfect

By Bradley Storer

Let’s get one thing straight first off: Julie Andrews does not appear in this show.

Julie Madly Deeply

This is the point that both British cabaret starlet Sarah-Louise Young and her accompanist make in the first five minutes of Julie, Madly, Deeply, a loving tribute to the musical/movie star who has touched the lives of so many.

After Andrews’ recent visit to Australia this show could not come at a more appropriate time. Over the course of an hour the audience is taken on a guided tour of Andrews’ life and career leading up to the present day, summoned up through a series of characters (and a grab-bag of comically mismatched accents) who all influenced the British legend in one way or another.

Young as a performer channels her own version of Andrews’ delightful open-heartedness, combined with a goofy comic physique, spritely choreography and a sunny soprano voice. Describing herself as Andrews’ number-one fan, dressed in an awkward pseudo-Maria von Trapp outfit and bobbed brown wig, Young’s adoration for her subject and love for sharing her with an audience creates an atmosphere of intense community.

A downside is that the charmed life of Dame Julie lacks the conflict and drama necessary to make it a truly compelling narrative, which subsequently means the show does not travel along a hugely satisfying dramatic arc. However Young does manage to find some darkness in the sugary sweetness – a manic medley of Andrews’ most famous songs is intercut with the heart-breaking inference that her busy schedule left Andrews no time to deal with the collapse of her first marriage.

Julie, Madly, Deeply is infused with a warmth and glow similar to the great lady herself, coupled with the songs that awaken the child inside any adult with a heart, making this a performance impossible not to enjoy.

VENUE: Chapel off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran

DATES: Friday 21 June – Saturday 22 June (plus post-performance Q&A with Sarah-Louise Young Sat 22nd at 3pm Matinee)

TIMES: 7:00pm Fri & Sat, 3:00pm

TICKETS: At the door, Phone: 03 8290 7000, Email: chapel@stonnington.vic.gov.au, Online at www.chapeloffchapel.com.au

PRICE: $40 Full, $35 Concession

Review: MICHAEL JACKSON HIStory II

Gone but not forgotten

By Jessica Cornish

Reminiscent of a Star Trek convention, hundreds of people draped in sequenced jackets, silk white gloves and glittered hats meandered into Her Majestys Theatre last night in anticipation of HIStory II.

This tribute to the legendary Michael Jackson starred L.A based impersonator Kenny Wizz and was supported by his eclectic band who had gathered from across the globe to entertain his Melbourne audience for over two hours.

Unsure of the concept of the night, I was relieved to find that the show was in fact a high-quality tribute concert. No poorly-written jukebox musical storyline, or invented characters trying to make the famous songs in to some poorly-formed song cycle. Instead, the night was one hit after the next, paired with some of the best lighting production I have seen in a long time

Visually the show was vibrant, punchy and consistently changing with the dynamic pop songs. Strobe lighting was heavily incorporated in to the lighting design, giving the dancers and Kenny as MJ a dramatic edge to songs such as Thriller and Smooth Criminal. Three hanging LED screens also featured prominently throughout the night, adding another dimension to the visual feast unfolding.

Unfortunately, during the first half of the performance there were some audio technical difficulties with the front-of-house mix, giving the sound a bizarre ‘paned’ effect, resulting in glaring music randomly jutting in and out of the speakers. Luckily this issue was resolved after interval, and the show ran smoothly.

Kenny belted out the demanding falsetto tunes continually with great passion and conviction. After impersonating MJ for over 28 years, he clearly convinces the audience who were besotted by him throughout the entire performance. Streams of young and old fans alike lined the aisles, dancing in delight.

Throughout the night Kenny was backed by a talented troupe of six dancers who added much energy to the performance. Initially the dancers seemed slightly out of sync with each other at times, but as the show progressed these problems quickly disappeared.

Personal performance favourites of mine were Don’t Blame It On The Boogie, with the dance troupe dressed in black and gold sequenced body suits dancing up a storm, followed by Smooth Criminal which of course included the famous ‘lean’ choreography that MJ made so famous.

Overall the night was greatly enjoyed, and Kenny promised to be back for another run next year. Perfect for anyone who wants a fun night out, a homage to MJ, and an opportunity to forget the mundane troubles of everyday life for a couple hours.

TOUR DATES: Sydney 24/8 & 25/8 Brisbane 1/9, Adelaide 8/9 and Perth 15/9

TICKETS: $89 Adult, $79 Conc/Group 10+
BOOKINGS: www.ticketek.com.au or 1300 795 012

REVIEW: Mike Tsama in RISE OF THE MEMPHIS CAT

Elvis is in the building!

By Christine Moffat

If you ever wondered what it was really like seeing Elvis Presley perform live way back when: before he was a star, before he went Hollywood, before the pills and the booze and the double-bacon-cheese-and-banana burgers, this show is your chance to find out! 

If you’re looking for that cool, truck-driving hunk of rough diamond that Sam Phillips and The Colonel were all shook up about, Mike Tsama is your man.  This 65-minute show takes you back to that time and that guy, with a faultless vocal performance by Tsama that manages to evoke a young Elvis without becoming a mere impersonation (a rare feat). 

Staged at the über-funky cabaret venue The Butterfly Club, the show is perhaps a little big for the room.  I believe this show calls for a big stage and a big, excited, Elvis-digging crowd.  That being said, if a smaller, more intimate (you know what I’m sayin’ Momma?) Elvis experience is what you’re after, this show at this venue is it. 

Although fewer costume changes and a couple less songs would have been preferable, if you go along for the ride this show will be a hell of a lot of fun for cats and kittens, so get clapping along early and you’ll have a ball.  As a concert experience, there is no real narrative or cabaret format, but this is not a kitch and cool outsiders’ show – it’s clearly for Elvis fans and soon-to-be Elvis fans of all ages. 

The combination of Tsama’s voice (which was pitch perfect) and his choice of some lesser-known songs as well as hits made me want to go home and play every Elvis song in my collection.  Oh, and if you’re craving a little extra special attention from The King, sit up and front and your wish might be granted…

Rise of the Memphis Cat

Written, produced & performed by: Mike Tsama

Featuring character voices: Steve McGrath, Meera Belle, David Watkins & Glen Schollum

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

Times: 7pm Thurs/Fri/Sat, 6pm Sun

Dates: Thurs 24th to Sun 27th May

Ticket prices: $23 Full, $20 Conc, $18 Groups 8+

Booking Details: www.thebutterflyclub.com

Review: TWO-RING CIRCUS – The Songs of Crowded House

Wonderfully more than a tribute show

By Adam Tonking

The idea of sitting through the greatest hits of Crowded House as not performed by Crowded House may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea – indeed, I’m not sure it sounds like mine.

Thank God then, for Matt Bradshaw and Dominic Italiano of Two-Ring Circus, and for their masterful performance of these oh-so-familiar songs. Bradshaw and Italiano are consummate performers, and they are charming and delightful – plus you can’t deny the appeal of those songs.

Bradshaw and Italiano were inclusive and welcoming from the start – it was like hanging out with your super-awesome friends, who are wickedly talented, while they play their favourite songs with such love and joy. If these aren’t your favourite songs, they may well be by the time Two-Ring Circus are through with you. In between musical numbers they discuss the different aspects of this music that fills them with such passion and admiration, and you can’t help but be swept up by their enthusiasm.

This was clearly a well-honed act that flowed beautifully between heartfelt tribute and just damn entertaining. Bradshaw and Italiano play easily off each other, and off the audience, without any pretension or self-consciousness. Their skills as musicians are impeccable, their voices heart-melting, their guitar-playing breath-taking.

I was particularly impressed by the small details – their use of a loop machine to create a beat was a rather elegant way to get around having no drummer, and their ability to work a microphone (sadly, a rare trait in a lot of performers) left me in no doubt as to the capabilities of these performers.

Bradshaw and Italiano breathe new energy into these oft-played standards, just through their obvious love and respect for the material. Frankly, I can’t imagine enjoying Crowded House more than I did Two-Ring Circus. Run quickly to see tribute done correctly.

Two-Ring Circus – The Songs of Crowded House is on at The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank Street, South Melbourne, from Tuesday 13th March till Sunday 18th March at 8pm Tuesday & Wednesday, 9pm Thursday till Saturday, and 8pm on Sunday.

Book at www.thebutterflyclub.com and do it quick.

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)