Cabaret Festival

Cabaret Festival Review: Thndo – The Reintroduction

A unique performer who is a genuine as she is radiant; just like her music style, she cannot be defined. Outstanding!

A unique performer who is a genuine as she is radiant; just like her music style, she cannot be defined. Outstanding!

Presented by: Thndo & Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Reviewed: 22 June, 2023

Thndo’s The Reintroduction will leave you satiated in every which way. What an amazing show!
Thndo’s Cabaret Festival performance consisted of a wonderful blend of tracks, both new and old, from a variety of music styles. Each was performed in true essence. Held in the Banquet room at the Adelaide Festival Theatre, this delightful cabaret event was only on for one evening – it certainly was one not to be missed.

Thndo graced the stage in a highly sequinned glistening dress and captured the audience straight away with Whitney Houston classic I’m Every Woman. She then jazzed it up with classic Broadway hit – Sarah Vaughan’s Whatever Lola Wants. Following this sultry jazz hit, Thndo paired it with musical director Cristian Barbieri on guitar with Queen’s Love Of My Life. The latter performed so earnestly that I shed a tear!

Thndo delighted the audience along with her band: Caleb Shand on bass, National Jazz Award finalist James Bowers on keyboard, percussionist Anthony Murray, and backup vocals from soul artist Michaela Jayde. Although occasionally one of the brilliant musicians took the spotlight, Thndo commanded the stage throughout.

At one point during the show, Thando left the stage, reappearing in an elegant off the shoulder black feather trimmed dress. She advised the audience that she will stop singing covers henceforth. The new attire signaled this message to the audience visually and served as a subtle reminder of the originality of the next lot of songs. I thought this was quite a clever approach, as when you are immersed in the melodies and beats, you occasionally think to yourself ‘wow, this is her authentic self’ and are reminded of how talented she is.

The audio and set production enhanced her captivating voice, with lights dimmed at certain times to fit in with each song. Most songs were prefaced with a small snippet into Thndo’s life – be it a dedication to someone she loved, related to her identity as a mother, a pivotal moment that shaped her life or her blackness.

It is little wonder that Thndo was a finalist of 2022’s The Voice, is considered by many as Australia’s First Lady of Soul and R&B’ and has revelled audiences at Bluesfest, WOMADelaide, Groovin’ The Moo, Woodford Folk Festival and BigSound.

Reviewed by Rebecca Wu

Photo credit: Claudio Raschella

Venue: Banquet Room, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: ended
Duration: 1.5 hours

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