Presented by the Cabaret Fringe Festival
Reviewed Sun 6th June 2010
Venue: La Bohème, 36 Grote Street, Adelaide
Season: First Sunday each month
Bookings for all Cabaret Fringe shows: BASS 131 241 or http://www.bass.net.au
The first Sunday of every month at 7:30PM finds La Bohème opening its doors to Cabaret Live! This is a free form event, where any brand new, emerging or established artists are welcome to turn up and sing, with accompaniment provided by the resident pianists, Matthew Carey and Chris Martin. Singers may bring their own music or select from huge songbooks provided on the night.
Do not be fooled, though. This is not remotely like one of those tragically bad amateur hours. The performers are all of a high calibre, some of them working professionals trying out new material or singing songs to promote their current shows. On this occasion, with the Cabaret Fringe in full swing, there were a few snippets from upcoming events. Chris Martin, who teaches at the Elder Conservatorium, was the accompanist for the evening and worked hard all night, sight-reading most of the numbers.
Sidonie Henbest opened the entertainment, letting everyone know that When You’re Good to Mama, Mama’s Good to You. This was one of the liveliest numbers in the musical, Chicago, and Henbest knows just how to belt out a song like this. She also acted as MC for the evening, with around twenty numbers being performed by almost as many artists.
The evening saw several newcomers to Cabaret Live!, along with some of the regulars and several Cabaret Fringe performers. There were also a few big surprises to be had along the way. Charlie Sanders then sang an unusual Soundgarden song, Let Me Drown, impressing, with his strong, light baritone voice.
Chris Mason was next, asking Is it Hot in Here? She delivered this almost as a torch song in a smooth jazz styling that really pleased the crowd. Then a newcomer, Jacinta, took us back to that Disney cartoon, Lady and the Tramp with a fine rendition of He’s a Tramp. Her sweetly soft voice suited it perfectly.
Mark Trebilcock was next, his deep rich baritone ideal for his version of Black Coffee, written in 1948 by Sonny Burke (lyrics) and Paul Francis Webster (music) and recorded by many female singers over the years, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Julie London, to name only a few, yet seldom performed by a man. Sarah Vaughan was the first to record it, in 1949. Earl Grant is, to the best of my knowledge, the only male singer to have recorded it, so hearing Trebilcock singing this number was a pleasant surprise.
Cara Louise, who will appear with Luna Eclipse and Sapphire Snow from Peaches and Gin Burlesque, then sang What You Feel, from the musical episode, Once More, With Feeling, in the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Their Cabaret Fringe show, A Burlesque Cabaret, a soirée risqué, is at Nexus Cabaret at 9PM on Saturday 12th.
Shelley was next up with one of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s hits, Meditation. Her breathy voice gave a new feel to this lovely Bossa-Nova. Then came Anjali Habel-Owell with Savage Garden’s Two Beds and a Coffee Machine. Her strong, full voice and thoughtful interpretation showed maturity beyond her years.
Jamie Jewel then sang a medley of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, from the film The Wizard of Oz, of course, and Where is Love, from the Lionel Bart musical and subsequent film, Oliver. These are part of his Cabaret Fringe show, The Lonely Man, that will be at Format Space at 8PM on Saturday 19th, Tuesday 22nd, Thursday 24th and Saturday 26th. He was accompanied in this medley by his own pianist.
He was followed by Antje Guenther with To Keep My Love Alive, a very funny number from her Cabaret Fringe show, Sex and Crime with Fräulein Antje. Her innocent smile and cheeky delivery made the lyrics even more hilarious. She will be appearing at La Bohème at 5PM on Sunday 20th, 8PM on Tuesday 22nd and 7:30PM on Thursday 24th.
Following an interval, Anjali Habel-Owell returned to the stage to sing the Nat King Cole favourite, L-O-V-E, in a great rendition. Newcomer, David Plathe, in town from Bendigo, gave a superb version of the standard, Fever, in his well-rounded strong baritone.
Then a real surprise hit was Beau-Daniel Loumeau, who admitted that he had never sung to an audience before, who proceeded to bring the house down with an a cappella version of the gospel hymn, His Eye is on the Sparrow. Although written in 1905 by two white songwriters, Civilla D. Martin (lyrics) and Charles H. Gabriel (music), it was soon made popular by Ethel Waters and is now regularly sung in African-American churches.
Shelley then returned with a complete change of mood giving a sexily breathy rendition of the James Bond theme, You Only Live Twice. Another newcomer, Mark Stefanoff then sang Lost in the Wilderness from the Stephen Schwartz musical based on the book of Genesis, Children of Eden. He has a strong tenor voice and delivered the song with a good understanding of its meaning.
Staying with the musicals, James Nicholson turned to Chess, with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, formerly of ABBA. He sang Anthem, the song that closes the first act, in a very moving rendition making good use of his full, rich baritone voice. Maryanne Boettcher then gave us Someone Else’s Story, from the same show, displaying a strong and expressive voice.
Sue Costa turned to an a cappella version of This May Be the Last Time, presenting a fine, driving version of this traditional gospel number. Charlie Sanders returned with the poignant song, I’m Not Afraid of Anything, from Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World, giving it a very sensitive reading.
Eventually it was time to finish and Sidonie Henbest closed the evening with a terrific version of Nothing Compares 2 U, written by Prince for the funk band, The Family, and later a hit for Sinéad O’Connor. Henbest’s Cabaret Fringe show, Lady Sings The Blues, is coming up on Thursday 10th and 17th June at 9PM at The Promethean.
With an entry fee of only $7, or $5 concession, Cabaret Live! has to be one of the best value nights out in Adelaide so, if you missed this month’s performance, there are plenty of other months ahead where you can make up for that omission.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor Glam Adelaide.