From the voice to the mannerisms, Catherine Alcorn is Bette Midler, just in a more affordable price bracket.
Alcorn’s performance, accompanied by Trevor Jones on keyboards and backup vocals, is incredible. Her singing and speaking voice are a perfect imitation of Bette Midler’s, as are her walk, eye raises, gestures and energy.
Alcorn, in a sparkly cocktail dress that fits like a glove and shows off her 'assets' in a similar fashion to Ms Midler’s style, sets the pace of the show by cosying up to the audience, before making her way on stage. She gives a good mix of Midler standards, performed with such precision that you could close your eyes and you’d swear you were hearing the original, except closing your eyes would make you miss the characteristic moves that Alcorn executes with ease and precision. In amongst the music, Alcorn peppers some fabulous commentary and proves that she hasn’t just flown in to do a set routine. The adaptation to refer to local landmarks allows further connection to the already enthralled audience.
The show makes reference to Midler’s Vegas showgirls, The Staggering Harlettes, and draws greatly on Midler’s inclusion of a characterisation of Sophie Tucker in her live shows. Alcorn works the dance numbers with 'sass', manages the little stage at La Boheme well, and delivers the classic “I will never forget it you know”, snippets of Sophie, her boyfriend Ernie, and best friend Clementine’s encounters, with great comic timing, often poking fun at the sometimes slow to catch on audience.
Unfortunately the season has ended, but Alcorn is definitely one to watch out for at future festivals.
Reviewed by Jade Kops, special guest Fringe Critic, Glam Adelaide
Venue: La Boheme, 36 Grote Street, Adelaide
Season: Season Ended