In a flurry of red feathers, a masked Amy Abler enters in slinky black sequin gown to deliver a burlesque-style fan dance. She removes no more than the masque, show-girl style head dress, and gloves, before issuing red feathers to everyone in the audience.
Sitting down, Abler does what she does best, plays the piano, a vibrant medley of classical and pop, before working into an adapted version of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy mixed with Let Me Entertain You. From the show Gypsy.
Abler describes herself as a “recovering classical concert pianist” and, whilst it is very clear that she would have excelled in that field if she had continued, we are very lucky that she has chosen the cabaret path to share her talents. Snippets of Abler’s global adventures as a music director for major musicals, cruise ship entertainer, and cabaret diva are delivered are at a good pace with lots of humour. The music includes arrangements of rock, musicals, classical, pop and country, along with new compositions, presented either on the piano or a piano accordion, with some amusing physical contortion thrown in for good measure.
It is clear from Abler’s genuine smile and body language that she enjoys playing piano and performing and has an energy that draws the audience in. To build extra depth to the songs, some are backed by tracks of a band and Abler also sings some of the songs, whilst others are purely instrumental.
The show also includes a level of audience participation. Whist Abler is an American, she includes a variation of an Australian classic for the audience to sing along with and encourages people to wave and play with the feathers issued at the beginning of the show.
The only suggestions would be to ensure that the feather head dress placed on an audience member’s head does not restrict the view of anyone sitting behind them, and that a better method of amplification of songs performed whilst the piano or backing track is played, as lyrics were lost.
A thoroughly enjoyable show with a good mix of clean burlesque, comedy and incredible piano playing.
Reviewed by Jade Kops, special guest Fringe Critic, Glam Adelaide
Venue: Red Room, The Tuxedo Cat, 199 North Terrace, Adelaide
Season: 7:30pm, Fri 9 – Sun 18 March 2012
Tickets: Adults $20, Concession $15
Bookings: Fringetix 1300-FRINGE (1300-374643), their outlets, or online