Amelia Ryan and Libby O’Donovan sing the past to life with Unsung
Presented by Release Creative
Reviewed 25th February 2020
Powerhouses of cabaret, Amelia Ryan and Libby O’Donovan join forces to bring Unsung to Adelaide this Fringe season. Unsung takes audiences on a journey “back before Kylie and Delta” to explore and celebrate the often forgotten female musicians of the 1960s. Accompanied by a full band, Ryan and O’Donovan bring the past to life.
Though either performer could command the stage alone, Ryan and O’Donovan choose to share the spotlight. They support each other in poignant and perfectly rehearsed duets, never missing a note. Opening with A World of Our Own”by The Seekers and Surfer Boy by Little Pattie, it is not until later in the show that they indulge in some solos. O’Donovan’s rendition of This is a Man’s World is powerful and beautiful, while Ryan’s Girls in Our Town is sweetly heartbreaking.
Between songs, Ryan and O’Donovan narrate the hidden struggles of their musical “foremothers” with authenticity and reverence. From the triumph of Noeleen Batley becoming the first Australian woman to have a number one song with Barefoot Boy, to the turbulent life of Bandstand starlet Lynne Randell. As O’Donovan says wryly, Unsung will deliver either a night of nostalgia or a “bloody education.”
Unsung quite literally gives voice to the real stories behind timeless Australian songs, while providing the perfect vehicle to showcase the vocal and comedic talents of Ryan and O’Donovan.
Reviewed by Nicola Woolford
Venue: The Chamber at The Queens
Season: 25th February – 7th March
Duration: 65 minutes
Tickets: $15.00 – $40.00
Rating out of 5: 5