Rachael Beck is certainly a First Lady of the Australian musical theatre scene with a slew of stage musicals to her credit. She started from playing Rumpleteazer at the age of 15 in Cats and most recently, was seen as Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Fans may also know her from the 1990s Australian television sit-com, Hey Dad..! What we don’t know about her is the basis for her cabaret show, This Girl.
Being the stage version of her newly released first solo album of the same title, This Girl allows us to share Beck’s life from performing The Count from Sesame Street (complete with thick eyebrows) at Eisteddfods as a little girl, through her dates with personages such as Russell Crowe and Ian Stenlake (whom she later married), musicals and motherhood, to the present.
Beck makes her first appearance in a shimmering red gown which seems totally appropriate as her performance sparkles through the rest of the night. Her song choices (matching those on the CD) all vary dramatically, allowing Beck to demonstrate wonderfully her vocal range and diversity as a performer.
Although a clichéd cabaret staple, Ms Beck’s version of Stephen Sondheim’s Send in the Clowns is arguably the best one this reviewer has heard, topping even Barbra Streisand. I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables gets royal treatment as well.
Whilst Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill gets some good exercising from Beck, it is her two duets – Mondo Rock’s State Of The Heart and Sun And Moon from Miss Saigon – with Michael Cormick (the Beast opposite her Belle in Disney’s Beauty And The Beast) that are true show stoppers.
This Girl reflects extremely well just who Rachael Beck is: classy, fun, loving, serious and very strong.
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Your Twitter: @briangods
Venue: Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide
Season: season ended
Duration: 1 hour 10 mins
The Adelaide Cabaret Festival runs from 6 – 21 June 2014