Cabaret Festival

Cabaret Festival Review: Karrin Allyson Quartet

The Karrin Allyson Quartet was just around the corner, at the Dunstan Playhouse, and yet a world away from the glitterati Gala event at the Festival Centre.



karrin-allyson-900x600Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 05 June 2015

Friday 5th June 2015 saw the Opening Night of the Karrin Allyson Quartet at the Dunstan Playhouse – offering a refined and intimate performance for a sold out crowd. It was just around the corner and yet a world away from the glitterati Gala event at the Festival Centre.

The stage looked warm and inviting, with instruments clustered around an ornate Persian rug. Blues diva Karrin Allyson walked confidently onto the stage and immediately started singing a Portuguese samba. She sported a Julie Andrews hairstyle with relaxed-fit white blouse and pants, with plenty of room to dance and sway. She took time to spotlight each member of her talented accompanying band – on guitar, drums, and double bass.

She soon sauntered over to a grand piano just left of centre stage, playing with casual familiarity. She explained to the audience with wry southern charm how a gringa such as herself came to perform French and Portuguese numbers. While she studied French at school, it was not until later in life that she fell in love with the flavour and beats of Southern American music.

Guided by this musical background, she reinterpreted a number of classics by Paul Simon, Duke Ellington, and Joni Mitchell. She next lent her smooth caramel voice to I Don’t Worry About A Thing, and Smile by Nat King Cole. The majority of her songs were ones of heartache, with sporadic upbeat numbers such as Sweet Home Cooking Man abruptly puncturing the melancholy.

Those audience members who indulged in pre-show cocktails at the stage bar enjoyed the performance most – with the repetitive blues beats complimenting their relaxed moods.

Reviewed by Nicola Woolford
Rating (out of 5): 3.5

Venue: Dunstan Playhouse
Season: 5 – 6 June
Duration: 70 minutes
Tickets: $54.90 – $69.90
Bookings: Book online through or phone BASS on 131 246


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