Performing Arts

Why Muriel Matters – Cabaret Fringe

Why Muriel Matters Cabaret FringePresented by the Muriel Matters Society and the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe
Reviewed Wednesday 16th June 2010

http://www.cabaretfringefestival.com
http://www.murielmatterssociety.com.au

Venue: La Boheme, 36 Grote Street, Adelaide
Season: 17, 19, 20 June at 7pm & 19 June at 2pm
Duration: 70mins
Tickets: $25/conc $15
Bookings: BASS 131 241 or http://www.bass.net.au

It is easy to understand why Muriel matters after enjoying Sheila Duncan’s delightful tribute to some of our forgotten history.

Born in the Adelaide suburb of Bowden in the late nineteenth century, Muriel Matters was an educator, actress and elocutionist who became a suffragist and prominent member of the UK’s Women’s Freedom League in the early 1900s.

Charming, elegant, witty and entertaining local actress, Teresa De Gennaro, embodies the spirit of this proud, determined woman who fought so tireless for gender equality across the UK. She speaks directly to the audience in an intimate retelling of her life, interspersed with twelve short songs, predominantly arranged by Carol Young.

Her story is inspirational and educational thanks to Catherine Campbell’s superb direction and Duncan’s heartfelt script. The tiny venue stage leaves little room for movement, but De Gennaro draws you into her journey with expert loving hands. There are no bra-burning, man-hating diatribes here, but rather a journey born of the belief that all people are equal.

The spirit of Muriel Matters is accompanied by fellow suffragist, Violet Tillard, played by musical arranger Carol Young. Young is a prize find who also takes on multiple minor roles when not tinkling the keyboard or singing alongside her co-star. Switching between roles and finding comedy in a simple glance, Young more than holds her own, whether in the background or foreground of the action.

The stylish period costumes successfully set the place and character in lieu of a set, while images of actual people and events are projected on the roof overhead for those who care to look up.

A stellar glimpse at history and a timely reminder not to take our freedoms for granted.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis, Performing Arts Critic, Glam Adelaide.

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