The petite Emma Clair Ford enters to the sound of waves lapping at a shoreline awakening what she describes as the “serenity of amnesia”. She then proceeds to take her audience on a journey through her memories, from birth, to childhood, and adulthood, as memories come flooding back.
Ford describes the world around her and her experiences at these various stages in her life with wonderfully descriptive language and emotion that draws the audience in from the start and has them wanting to hear more. With perfect pace, congruent body language and appropriate vocal variety, to move through the stories without feeling rushed, Ford also gives the audience a sense of who she is, allowing them to connect with her. The stories, whilst unique, have common core ideas that people can relate to, the innocence of youth, failed love, and an appetite for adventure.
The reason for the opening scene eventually becomes apparent, but the overarching theme is the need to rise again following falls and to keep viewing life’s little challenges as “an adventure within and adventure”.
Whilst many cabaret shows focus on music, Butterscotch is more storytelling, and it works beautifully as Ford has selected songs to fit to the story and is not singing for the sake of singing but, with her beautiful voice, I’m sure people would gladly listen to if she wanted to add more music. Ford has an incredible vocal range and flexibility, handling a range of music styles with enviable ease and ably accompanied by Mark Ferguson on keyboards.
Whilst this show is more storytelling, and does not employ the techniques of going out into the audience and wanting participation that other cabarets are using, Ford makes sure that she includes the audience as she presents to all areas of the room, making sure that we are all coming along with her. The show is delivered from the central microphone stand without any props to distract from Ford's gestures and facial expressions, and she honestly doesn’t need any of the flash and sparkle that other performers use to captivate their audiences. She is definitely enough on her own.
Butterscotch is a must see for anyone who loves a good story, great music, the joy of adventure and the wonder of first experiences.
Reviewed by Jade Kops, special guest Fringe Critic, Glam Adelaide
Venue: La Boheme, 36 Grote St, Adelaide
Season: 6:30pm, Wed 7 – Fri 9 Mar, 4:30pm, Sat 10 Mar, 7pm Sun 11 Mar 2012
Tickets: Adults $25, Concession $20, Fringe Benefits $15, Group $15
Bookings: Fringetix 1300-FRINGE (1300-374643), their outlets, or online