Presented by the Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Reviewed Fri 11th June 2010
Venue: Artspace Gallery, Adelaide Festival Centre
Bookings for all Cabaret Festival shows: BASS 131 241 or http://www.bass.net.au
Elizabeth Cousemacker is on 22 years of age but has already decided on a career and is working hard to achieve her goals. She is doing so with considerable success, having already been co-winner of the 2009 Sydney Cabaret Showcase. For this performance she turned to the music of three of the great composers, Noël Coward, Kurt Weill and Cole Porter, opening in fine style with a very romantic version of Cole Porter’s Night and Day.
During the performance she told of the lives and loves of these three, two of whom were homosexual and the third, Weill, had a volatile relationship with his wife, the singer Lotte Lenya, whom he divorced and, missing her badly, later remarried. Cole Porter also married, helping to keep his affairs with other men discreetly hidden, and was so devastated when his wife died that he became a recluse.
Singing mainly in English, but with a couple of numbers in French and German, she illuminates their stories with the songs, appropriately chosen to connect with the narrative, beginning with Weill’s escape from Nazi Germany, he was Jewish, and his new start in Paris. He eventually went to America. Coward, too, spent a great deal of his time in America and this country and its people become a common theme. Porter, of course, was born there, to a family that denied him nothing.
All this adds up to some fascinating and often very funny anecdotes, linking songs such as Anything Goes, Mack the Knife, The Saga of Jenny, Nina from Argentina, Mad About the Boy and many more. We discovered that Cousemacker has a fine feel for comedy and a voice that can belt out a big number, negotiate with sensitivity a ballad about misplaced love or swing like mad. At times she even borders on the operatic. She was accompanied by Nigel Ubrihien on piano.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor Glam Adelaide.