Johanna Allan takes you on hour long tour of Europe, only leaving you wanting more from this world class performer.
Presented by: Release Creative and GWB Entertainment
Reviewed 12 March 2021
Over the years, South Australia has produced some exquisitely talented artists who have gone on to become prominent performers across Australia and the world. This is certainly the case for Johanna Allen.
Johanna’s current show at the Adelaide Fringe, Euromash, certainly showcases why she is at the top of her game. Twenty-four hours after seeing her show, I’m still on a high from the sheer musical joy this show created.
Johanna Allen is sublime. Like we need oxygen to breath, the music in Euromash is nourishment for the soul. Everything about this performance just worked.
Euromash is an hour long musical journey around Europe with Johanna and her two musicians (more on them shortly). Using the music of Piaf, Piazzolla, Michel Le Grand, Weil & Bizet, Johanna takes us across Europe. Her vocal technique is flawless, as is her skill with languages. One moment Johanna’s classical training is shining through with exquisite high notes, and the next we are treated to her warm mellow tones with more soulful, jazz inspired numbers. There are multiple moments in the show that one would forget she’s Australian.
Johanna does confess to the audience early on in the performance that at the heart of every classically trained soprano is a pop diva trying to get out. And with this, there is a smattering of pop songs mixed throughout the performance. I have heard classically trained sopranos attempt pop singing before and it has generally not been an enjoyable experience, with a lack of understanding of pop technique and no attempt to arrange the piece to suit the vocalist. However, this was not the case here. Johanna cleverly adapted these pop songs to match the style of the European inspired music from the rest of the show. A personal favourite was Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl‘as a Spanish tango. Amazingly, it worked well.
Johanna is joined on stage by two of Adelaide’s busiest and in-demand musicians: Julian Ferraretto on violin, mandolin and electric saw, and Mark Ferguson on piano. Mark is also Johanna’s musical director. These musicians are truly the best of the best. They have such a deep understanding of their instruments, breathing life into them in such a magical way. There were many times throughout the performance I forgot there were only two instruments playing at any one time.
The arrangements for each piece were the creative work of both Johanna and Musical Director Mark Ferguson. I know I have gushed a lot already through this review, but the arrangements were magical. Each piece highlighted the cultural influences of the country that was being portrayed. Then there were those arrangements that were totally unique. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to hear a traditional big band arrangement of Mack The Knife after hearing their spine tingling, horror-esque arrangement.
Sadly, Johanna’s season at this year’s Adelaide Fringe is much too short. She will be sticking around in Adelaide to play the role of Carrie Pipperidge in State Opera of South Australia’s sold out production of Carousel. Keep your eyes out for future work with Johanna; you will not be disappointed.
Reviewed by: Ben Stefanoff
Venue: The Chamber at The Queens
Season: March 11 – March 14
Duration: 1 hour
Tickets: From $35
Rating out of 5: 5