Tag: Yana Alana

REVIEW: Yana Alana is COVERED

Captivating as ever

By Bradley Storer

Cabaret provocateur Yana Alana, the alter-ego of performer Sarah Ward, emerged from behind a scrim after her opening number, fully clothed – which she noted was a rarity after touring her critically acclaimed show Between the Cracks for the last three years, where she appeared completely nude. Here she was for the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival cheekily taking her show title Covered in both the literal and figurative sense, with no nudity as she only sang the songs of other artists, backed up by the multi-talented members of her band The Piranas, Louise Goh and Bec Matthews.

Yana Alana is COVERED

Even when singing the words of others, Yana Alana remains a fiercely individualistic and ruthlessly entertaining performer, bringing her unique interpretations to the works of Tom Waits, James Shelton, Puccini and even Beyonce, her incredible voice scaling from a Bassey-sized belt to an operatic soprano. From trying (and spectacularly failing) to achieve complicated dance moves to running screaming offstage from one end of the venue to the other, Alana is utterly and wonderfully shameless in her pursuit to entertain.

If anything, Covered is light on Alana’s usual repertoire of political and cultural satire and self-loathing narcissism, choosing instead to use the out-of-context lyrics from various songs as segues between sections. This can feel a little toothless compared to the usual ferocity of her work, but the level of artistry and craft present means she is, as always, completely compelling and absolutely unmissable.

Dates: 29th September – 3rd October
Time: 8:30pm
Venue: Main Theatre, Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne.
Tickets: Full $35, Concession $25, Cheap Tuesday $15
Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au, (03) 9660 9666, at the door.

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REVIEW: Anya Anastasia in TORTE E MORT

Treat yourself

By Bradley Storer

Bedecked in a gorgeous 18th-century aristocratic French court gown topped by an appropriately extravagant wig, cabaret performer Anya Anastasia swanned elegantly through the audience at the Melba Spiegeltent, her entourage (comprised of one drummer and one back up singer) strewing her path with rose petals while she blew kisses and flirted with the crowd.

Torte e Mort

From this decadent entrance, Anastasia took the audience on a wild ride loosely inspired by the cautionary life of Marie Antoinette – under the direction of Sarah Ward (AKA cabaret provocateur Yana Alana) the journey spins delightfully towards the grave and beyond, bouncing with dark glee from musical tales of Antoinette’s extravagance to doom-riddled warnings from a certain ‘post-apocalyptic auctioneer’ who sells off the French queen’s post-mortem possessions.

Anastasia exudes an ecstatic sense of anarchy, whether it’s contorting her body to ridiculous lengths all the while still plucking out a melody on the piano, or executing a striptease that shifts compellingly between burlesque and a contemporary movement piece. The titular songs of cake and death, with drummer Bec Matthews expertly accompanying, run the gamut from manic and adrenaline-crazed elegies to the parties of the French aristocracy, black-hearted and jaunty tunes that recall Tom Waits at his most bleak, all the way to a simple and chilling ukulele tune about inevitable mortality. However, a section which pays visit to the devil and an ode to the advantages of self loathing, while entertaining, spins so far from the central topic of the show for reasons that are unclear that it almost seems unnecessary.

Overall Torte e Mort is a wildly inventive show that bursts with ferocious creative energy, drawing laughs one moment before chilling the blood the next – a delicious and bloody treat for lovers of cabaret!

Dates: Wednesday 16th September – Sunday 20th September
Venue: Melba Spiegeltent, 35 Johnston St, Collingwood
Time: 8:30pm (Wednesday 7:45pm)
Price: Full $25, Preview $15
Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au, 03 9660 9666, at the door.

REVIEW: Finucane and Smith with GLORY BOX: PARADISE

Glorious performances

By Myron My

The highly revered Finucane & Smith have returned to fortyfivedownstairs with their subversive and seductive show Glory Box: Paradise that brings together a myriad of extremely talented women for a variety of acts, from circus to dance to cabaret performance, in a non-stop evening of evocative entertainment.

Glory Box Paradise Image by Jodie Hutchinson

Under the creative direction of Jackie Smith, Moira Finucane soon shows us why she has been so successful over the years, with sell-out seasons around the world for almost a decade. Her performance of ‘A Sunny Afternoon’ was highly emotional whereby, with no spoken word beyond the lyrics, she made a moving statement about our notions of beauty in society. When paired with U2’s hit ‘With or Without You’, the room was frozen in place with the audience deep in contemplation, having been left to our own devices to determine the underscored meaning.

Having experienced British cabaret star Ursula Martinez four years ago in London I was very excited to be seeing her again and I was not disappointed. Also sometimes referred to as the Red Hanky Lady, Martinez’s ‘Hanky Panky’ is always going to be a crowd favourite. Her collaborations with Guinness World Record hoola hooper Jess Love were highly entertaining and the final reveal of ‘Quick Change Sex Change’ proved that with a show like this, we can always expect the unexpected.

It’s an evening of no lulls or disappointments with strong performances by Holly Durant, Lily Paskas and Yumi Umiumare throughout, as well as a few songs by Yana Alana fresh from her Melbourne Cabaret Festival season. There are also a number of special guests joining these remarkable women throughout the season including Rhonda Burchmore and Paul Capsis.

There is a lot of nudity in Glory Box: Paradise but I found it to be quite liberating and affirming, even as a male, to see all these women being nude, or close to, on stage and not being embarrassed or making a big deal about it. There is a strong underlying message in this show regarding what it means to be a beautiful woman, in that all women are beautiful and should never be ashamed of their bodies – a sentiment you hear often but rarely witness being enacted.

In short, you will laugh, you will be inspired, you will think, and things will get messy – especially if you are sitting in the front few rows – but that’s all part of the fun and celebration of Finucane & Smith’s Glory Box: Paradise.

Venue: fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Season: Until 11 August | Thurs 7:00pm, Fri-Sat 7:oopm and 9:30pm, Sun 5:30pm

Tickets: From $25 – $88.88

Bookings: http://www.fortyfivedownstairs.com/events or 9662 9966

Review: Opening Night Gala for MELBOURNE CABARET FESTIVAL

A glorious beginning to this year’s star-studded and spangled festival

By Kate Boston Smith

Opening Night Gala

A festival first born in the garden of delights that was The Butterfly Club’s original address has blossomed out of its next gothic home in the South Melbourne Town Hall to now stretch its sequin canopy over the length and breadth of our music-loving city.

It was a fantastic and bold move by directors Neville Sice and David Read to open this year’s heavenly event at the auspicious and grand old dame of live performance art, The Palais Theatre on St Kilda’s Esplanade.   Lush red curtains and a smattering of sparkling stars pulled cabaret performers close to the practically sold-out audience for an intimate taste of this beloved art form.

Fem Belling, jazz vocalist and leading lady (performing her own show Blossom Dearie at Chapel off Chapel) hosted the Gala with all the flair, playful wit and costume changes one could hope for.  Clearly a night of stand-out acts from the festival, Trevor Ashley and Rhonda Burchmore took parody and adult-only panto to gin-soaked, pun-tastic new heights, with Burchmore proving she has still most definitely ‘got it’.

Divine Gala moments included Yana Alana’s scantily-clad excerpts from her anticipated return in Blue Show (being performed at 45 Downstairs). Gripping all with her lasso quips and razor-sharp lyrics Yana Alana brings a certain cheek to the stage others could only dream of.  New York cabaret icon Joey Arias took us from the cheeky to the sensual with his beautiful channeling of Billie Holiday. His velveteen tones should not be missed in Arias on Holiday at Chapel Off Chapel.

Absolute crowd favorite was the impeccable Mary Wilson, original chanteuse of The Supremes.  Draped in a red gown, diamonds and white mink stole, Ms Wilson was every bit the dream diva.  Performing excerpts from Stormy Weather: The Lena Horne Project, she captivated the entire room with her grace and beauty.

This Gala Opening Night was the perfect initiation into the superb world of cabaret.  All the acts were tremendously chosen, with performers such as Tara Minton, David Pomeranz and Adam Guettel who tantalized all not only with their voices, but literally with the sharing of secrets from their personal lives and work practices.

It is this transformative journey from cabaret room into the mind, body and artist imagination that fuels the fire of cabaret-loving audiences.  This is an ideal time of year to make your way into an intimate performance space to have your soul sparked by some of the best in the business.

The Opening Night Gala took place on Wednesday June 26, 2013. There are over 150 performers and performances running NOW for the Melbourne Cabaret Festival 2013 until 7 July. Check www.melbournecabaret.com for full listings.

June News: GRADUATE GOSSIP

Cats, Canines and Cabaret: My Friend the Vet

A bassett-hound superstud, a poodle très chic, a stressed-out guinea pig, a psychopathic cat, and a menagerie of man’s best friends are lining up this month tell us what they’re really thinking – in song!   Performer, writer and renowned singing teacher Sally Collyer has been promising us this show ever since graduating from the very first Creating Solo Cabaret course in 2007, so forget talking to the animals: these puppies sing!

Set in a vet’s surgery (er, I mean “a house of well-being…), My Friend the Vet promises laughter, tears and perhaps just a touch of cold-blooded terror as our pets show us the world through their eyes.    

For everyone who loves animals – and who doesn’t?

Written and performed by Sally Collyer (The Price of Genius), and featuring Simon Bruckard on piano
Thursday-Saturday 10-12 June 2010, 7pm (running time 60 mins)
Sunday 13 June 2010, 6pm


The Butterfly Club
204 Bank Street, South Melbourne
(just near the South Melbourne Town Hall)

Tickets $22 full / $17 concession or groups of 8+
Bookings: www.thebutterflyclub.com    Enquiries: 0412 546 580

 

Melbourne Cabaret Festival Heats Up

Tickets are on sale for next month’s Melbourne Cabaret Festival, and the line-up is looking exciting.   No-one offends with the panache of The Beautiful Losers, while The Petticoat Soiree (written and directed by the stunning Alistair Smith) is bringing vaudeville back to town.   Then there’s the irreverent wit of Yana Alana, the ever delicious Sammy J, the unexpected Eddie Perfect, and the irrepressible Toni Lamond for starters…

With forty performances in four days, it’s going to be non-stop cabaret at Emerald Hill in South Melbourne in July.   Sell-out shows are guaranteed, so check out what’s on, and book quick!

Melbourne Cabaret Festival
July 22-25, 2010
www.melbournecabaret.com
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