Cabaret Festival

Cabaret Festival Review: An Evening Without Kate Bush

An Evening Without Kate Bush is a beautiful, humorous, wacky and vocally-resplendent celebration of the English song-bird

An Evening Without Kate Bush is a beautiful, humorous, wacky and vocally-resplendent celebration of the English song-bird

Presented by: Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Reviewed: 15 June, 2023

Get ready to howl to the ‘Hounds of Love’ with the multi-talented, UK-based Sarah-Louise Young. Kate brings her crowd-pleasing cabaret in honour of beloved singer-songwriter Kate Bush to the Cabaret Festival, but with a wackier, comedic vibe while still honouring the impact of the famous singer’s legacy.

An Evening Without Kate Bush definitely provides one of the more wacky shows in this year’s cabaret line-up. It embodies the uniqueness of Kate herself, with lifting comedic moments Sarah-Louise Young nails. Young takes to the stage like a bat out of hell, or rather, a crow out of the woods, while wearing a large, black-feathered, wing-like designed head-piece, foreshadowing the captivating drama of the following performance.

In this tribute-like cabaret show, Young continually explores the effect this one woman had on people from all around the world, including extrapolating from the audience whether they’re fish (the name of Kate’s fans), or maybe just curious about the singer. She also tells tales of her childhood memories spent admiring the British songbird, and throughout the beautiful collaborative ballad with Peter Gabriel Don’t Give Up, Young performs comments from the video’s Youtube video, which range from delightfully humorous to sentimental and deeply meaningful.

Young’s airy, and hauntingly ethereal vocals, which especially stand out while performing Hounds of Love, are not only similar to the magic of Kate, but are also magically reminiscent of Florence Welch’s performances of slower Florence + The Machine songs. These high-pitched ethereal notes and slow, calming pace also appear in This Woman’s Work which Young adds a comic element too, dressed in cleaning clothes including an apron and green dishwashing gloves, and duets with a mop.

Rarely are props utilised by Young, and they’re not needed as she commands the stage without the need for them, though her use of large, blinking eyes are a fun addition to one routine. Costume changes also keep things fresh throughout the show, including a skin-tight, black leotard and flowing skirt pairing, a trench coat, and a classic red leotard with red tights for Wuthering Heights. Dance moves also play an important role in presenting Kate Bush, as any fan would know, and Young plays around with this, even naming some of Kate’s moves (one is appropriately named the ’shifty cat’). These moves include a combination of large, material wings swishing about the stage, and moves that become raw, untamed and energetic expressive movements for Running Up That Hill.

Running Up That Hill is, unsurprisingly, a beauty to hear, especially live and with such power and after seeing the 1985 tune’s viral revival over TikTok thanks to its utilisation on the hit Netflix show, Stranger Things. This part of the show, though, could do with a tad more power to match the power of the song, whether it be an appropriate prop, or more dramatic lighting.

One small improvement would be to hear more of the impressively talented Young performing the much-beloved Wuthering Heights, Kate’s debut single which topped the UK singles charts when she was only 19 years of age. As lovely as it is to hear the chorus of an audience, Young can definitely jump in a bit earlier to power out the tricky vocals and blow the audience away.

Although it’s not quite dancing through the windy moors with Kate Bush herself, An Evening Without Kate Bush is a beautiful, humorous, wacky and vocally-resplendent celebration of the English song-bird, pulled off by the dedicated talent of Sarah-Louise Young.

Reviewed by Georgina Smerd

Photo credit: Claudio Raschella

Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: 15 – 17 June 2023
Duration: 1 hour 5 minutes
Tickets: $30 – $45

More News

To Top