Cabaret Festival

Cabaret Festival Review: Comedians Auditioning For Musicals

If auditioning was this much fun in real life, we’d all do it

If auditioning was this much fun in real life, we’d all do it

Presented by: Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Reviewed: 11 June, 2023

Okay, let’s admit right from the beginning that there is a musical theatre geek within most, if not all, of us. It might be full blown or tiny and perhaps buried way, way deep inside of us – BUT it’s there. Comedians Auditioning For Musicals, as presented by the talented duo of Michelle Brasier and Ben Russell, is a loving and fun tribute to that urge that makes us want to sing, dance, act and be prisoners in a French classic or even cats in a musical about them.

The show starts with Brasier and Russell singing The Confrontation from Les Miserables with Brasier singing sublimely Jean Valjean’s part and Russell playing Javert well. There is just enough silliness in this to set the tone for the rest of the evening. We discover that we are about to witness some hopefuls auditioning for a community theatre production of Cats. We are then introduced to the Audition Pianist, one Gillian Cosgriff, who is only to play the piano (or ‘plinky plonk’) without speaking or singing (don’t worry, she gets her revenge brilliantly in the end).

We witness five auditionees, Virginia Gay (All Saints, Winners and Losers), Trevor Jones (aka The Piano Man), Reuben Kaye, Zachary Ruane (Aunty Donna’s Coffee Café) and the perfect Eddie Perfect all trying to impress and they do, while all the time bringing comedy to the forefront. Let’s just cut to the chase: all five are funny with amazing voices varying from stunning to brilliant. The five also take on a various aspect of an auditionee.

Gay is the slightly nervous one who, once she gets going, knows her stuff and performs Javert’s Suicide (aka Stars) in its original key (C4-F#5 for all the musical geeks out there (don’t blame me if it’s wrong, blame Google)).

Jones plays the auditionee who dresses the part of the role he is going for, in this case Grizabella (or rather as Delta Goodrem as she played Grizabella), so you’ve guessed it: full cat costume!

Kaye is the all out ‘arrogant’ auditionee who doesn’t explain anything, just gets on with auditioning. He is his barbed, dynamic self, giving not so much an audition, but a taste of his cabaret act, methinks. There’s a well reasoned diatribe comparing the acceptance of Disney’s rather ‘gay’ villains over the uproar of drag queens reading to children – but done in his usual clever way.

Perhaps the surprise of the night, for this reviewer anyway, was Ruane. He was not only funny as one would expect him to be, but had a wonderfully fine and strong voice. His Mr Cellophane from Chicago had everyone in the audience barracking for him to pass the audition. His recognisable character trait was taking an eternity to find his stating note.

Last, but by no means least, Perfect comes onto the scene as the up and coming young man who has written a few songs for a couple of little shows and has obviously had good schooling and training: he enunciates every word perfectly and sings ‘can’t’ instead of ‘cain’t’ in I’m Just A Girl Who Cain’t Say No. He’s also a little hesitant about auditioning as he had a deeply disturbing incident occur at a cast party for another show, involving a spa and an elderly cast member.

All in all, this was an extremely entertaining show, especially if you let your musical theatre imp out.

Reviewed by Brian Godfrey

Photo credit: Claudio Raschella

Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: Ended

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