Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 17 June 2016
On Friday night the Zephyr Quartet performed their rendition of The Juliet Letters, originally born as collaboration between Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet in 1993. This Cabaret season, The Juliet Letters are brought to life with local talents Michaela Burger, Cameron Goodall, Jude Henshall, and Jamie Jewell.
Each song represented a letter to the imaginary Juliet – including love letters, ‘Dear John’ letters, divorce summons, suicide notes, and junk mail offers. The dramatic performances of the singers brought every song to life.
While The Juliet Letters were originally produced as a studio album, the Zephyr Quartet together with director David Mealor have created a very theatrical experience. Smoke and blue light drifted from the stage down onto the audience as they found their seats. The singers came onto stage in turn, performing as they walked in amongst the Quartet. The name of each song appeared above the Quartet, projected against a backdrop in larger than life font. One memorable song saw Jewell writing the title Swine as graffiti, using a flashlight as paint.
Musically, The Juliet Letters walks the line between classical and rock & roll – seeing a beautiful duet between singers and Quartet. Therefore it could appeal to a wide range of audiences, though you must come with an open mind. Often the disconnected themes of the songs clashed with the music and left very little cohesion between the talented artists on stage. Several audience members trickled out of the theatre mid-show, while those who stayed offered a standing ovation. It is an unforgettable performance, but perhaps not for the every-man.
Reviewed by Nicola Woolford
Rating (out of 5): 3.5
Venue: Dunstan Playhouse
Season: 17 – 18 June 2016
Tickets: $34.90 – $49.90
Bookings: Book online through the Adelaide Cabaret Festival website or phone BASS on 131 246