Raise a glass for Annie Siegmann because her show Girl on the Drink: From Gutter to Glamour in Satire and Song is one of the most entertaining shows in this year’s Cabaret Fringe.
Girl on the Drink is a musical journey through the various stages of alcoholism, reminding us that behind glittery inebriation and non-stop partying, is a world of sickness and addiction. Girl on the Drink is both a celebration of our favourite poison and a warning against its misuse. Siegmann’s own experiences with The Drink add a sense of shocking reality to the show, but she manages to turn a negative into a positive through her amazing singing and amusing style of storytelling.
Siegmann proves she is at home on the stage, performing with charisma and confidence. To see a performer control an audience as well as she does is wonderful. Before the show proper started, she wandered about the tables of La Boheme, welcoming everyone, before opening the door to the street outside and inviting passersby to come in. The audience was laughing raucously from the start and almost every second sentence afterward made the laughter erupt once more. Siegmann was joined by Logan Watt, who did his best to keep up with her (quite a feat), and played the piano in a relaxed yet highly controlled manner.
A combination of original songs and covers were used to tell the story of recovery, all of which highlighted Siegmann’s talent. Siegmann has a strong and versatile voice that packs a real punch. She can keep a single ground-shaking note for an age and, at the other end of the spectrum, convey emotion through sombre, quiet verses. The balance of monologue and singing in the show is near perfect and the comedy element worked incredibly well.
The show had a fun and loose atmosphere, as if Siegmann were talking to the audience at a bar rather than performing. Although it was relaxed, it was by no means sloppy; an error would be hard to find. The comedy of the show comes from Siegmann’s ever-so-slightly condescending, self-deprecating performance. Although she attacks her former, drunken self, she does so in a totally entertaining way. She also pokes fun at Cabaret itself, saying that her melodica (basically a small keyboard you blow into to play) is ‘So Cabaret’ just because it is red and black.
I found it slightly ironic that this show was performed in a venue famed for its cocktails, but I suppose the point was not to paint alcohol in a completely evil light, but to champion moderation. Cabaret and cocktails go hand in hand, after all.
Girl on the Drink is a hilarious show that turns the horror of alcoholism into something enjoyable, without cheapening the overall message. Girl on the Drink is a raunchy, cool and overall wonderful show, infused with the spirit of Cabaret. Siegmann warns us against telling granny about it though, because ‘she might get a little offended.’
Reviewed by James Rudd
Venue: La Boheme
Season: 15 – 23 June
Duration: 1 hour
Tickets: $20 – $25
Bookings: Book online at the Cabaret Fringe Festival website or tickets available at the door if not sold out