Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Simply Brill: The Teens Who Stole 60’s Rock n Roll

Simply Brill is tight, well executed and slick — an absolute sonic treat

Simply Brill is tight, well executed and slick — an absolute sonic treat

Presented by: Amplified House

Reviewed: 17 February, 2024

When three of our state’s most successful cabaret performers join forces (Amelia Ryan, Michaela Burger and Michael Griffiths), you know you are in for a treat. Add the music of the 1960s and a slick, well presented show, and Simply Brill becomes a must see on your Fringe viewing list for 2024. 

Simply Brill tells the story of New York City’s Brill Building during the 1960s — the hit factory in the heart of New York City where a string of teenage songwriters shaped 60s rock ’n’ roll, and the music industry as we know it today. Hit after hit after hit was written in the Brill Building. At its peak, a composer could create, then record and produce a final record all within the same building. It found some of the biggest names in the industry — Burt Bacharach, Neil Diamond, Ellie Greenwich, and Carole King, to name a few.

Simply Brill cleverly weaves some of the biggest hits from the Brill Building with a tight, well written script. Ryan, Burger and Griffiths present the dialogue in a conversational style which is well paced. However, it is the music and their musicianship that sets this show above some other cabaret shows I’ve seen.

Their vocal blend is exquisite. Ryan, Burger and Griffiths’ tight and well executed harmonies are an absolute sonic treat. The songs are presented as solos, duets or trios. It is hard to single out which highlights to write about — the whole show is that good. It is amazing how much music can be squeezed into a seventy minute show. You cannot help but smile, the music in Simply Brill is so infectious. It will get stuck in your head. I am still asking myself this deep question days later: “Who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp” and “Who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong”!

It is clear why these three performers are some of the best in the industry. You cannot fault them. The added sprinkling of snappy yet simple choreography really lifted Simply Brill. Ryan, Burger and Griffiths were backed by a talented four piece band (as well as Griffiths on keys). They provided a wonderful musical backing.

With several shows remaining over the next few weekends, do yourself a favour and take a trip back to the 1960s. Home-grown cabaret this good deserves full houses. I promise you, it will leave you singing and dancing all the way home.

To note: The performances on March 1, 2 and 3 will feature Adelaide’s very own Lindsay Prodea on vocals and the magnificent Dr Trevor Jones on piano in place of Michael Griffiths.

Reviewed by Ben Stefanoff

Photo credit: Claudio Raschella

Venue: The Octagon – Gluttony
Season: Sat, 17 Feb – Sun, 17 Mar
Duration: 70 mins
Tickets: $20 to $55

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