Whilst Jane Hewetson quietly takes her position on the love-seat on stage, Brenton Shaw explodes on to the stage, not once, but three times, giving the audience a feel for his and Hewetson's stage personalities: a reserved, quieter, older woman, and an energetic showman.
This one act musical about the younger Shaw wanting to write a cabaret ahow, and the more mature Hewetson being his best friend and sounding board, works through concepts, music choices, costuming, and an understanding of the genre, with each character giving a little of their story.
Whilst discussing the question of whether another cabaret about love is the right path, Hewetson correctly advises that a cabaret needs to be “from the heart”, and that Shaw needs to “keep it real”, which then allows both to explore their loves and losses.
As this is a musical, rather than a cabaret, the performers interact with each other, rather than the audience. Given the small size of the venue, however, singing to the audience, rather than over their heads, may help engage them more and draw them into the piece. The singing is of a high standard, and both performers get to show their range and versatility, ably supported by Grant Thomas on keyboards. The song choice does slow the show down, and a contrast of the good sides to love may help to lift the mood. The spoken work was a little forced but both had the clarity and volume to ensure the audience could hear the detail. Both handled the interruptions of a baby crying at the back of the audience well and were not distracted.
It will be interesting to see what this duo offer for future performances.
Reviewed by Jade Kops, special guest Fringe Critic, Glam Adelaide
Venue: Westcare Karpandi Arts Centre, 216 Wright St (enter from Millers Crt), Adelaide.
Season: 7:30pm, Fri 16 – Sat 17 Mar 2012
Tickets: Adults $16, Concession $12
Bookings: Fringetix 1300-FRINGE (1300-374643), their outlets, or online