Short and Sweet Cabaret

9 Jan

I realized sometime ago that Life was, in fact, not a cabaret.

At times, I’ve felt Life should lift its game, and would greatly benefit from adopting some of cabaret’s virtues – its sense of mischief, its playfulness, its exuberance.

And last night’s Short and Sweet Cabaret was overflowing with these very qualities.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I don’t like competitions. Winning is for losers. But the competition that is Short and Sweet is easily ignored, overwhelmed by the vitality of the performances.

Festival director Kate Gaul has assembled a great night of entertainment. And Daryl Wallis as musical director, and spending much of the night on the keyboard, has created magic.

I’m not going to attempt to discuss all thirteen acts, but rather focus on several that especially spoke to me.

Oh, My Shattered Illusions, performed by Kelly Young, is delightfully naughty, and deals with copulation and its two most challenging consequences – STIs and children.

Cienda McNamara’s Hardly The Portrait of a Lady is cleverly written and beautifully sung. It’s a very funny tale of the character’s rivalry with Nicole Kidman, and an insight into the dangers of competition.

Harry + Liv, performed by Charlotte and Evan Kerr, is a perfect vehicle for the artists’ considerable talents, both vocally and on the piano. A simple but charming at home moment between brother and sister is brought alive by two wonderful voices.

Maryann Wright. Photo by Diana Popovska

Maryann Wright. Photo by Diana Popovska

Nuts, performed by Maryann Wright, is a playful presentation of some of history’s eccentrics, and Wright has a brilliant voice.

Another brilliant voice belongs to Josipa Draisma. Her Keep Moving was a marvelously presented collection of songs about the power of dreams.

Brendan Hay "Dance with DeVil"

Brendan Hay “Dance with DeVil”

Also in possession of an amazing voice is Brendan Hay. His Dance with DeVil was polished and witty, and performed with great stage presence.

Jade Yeong’s appropriation of some classic Australian anthems in her Wok Off to Where You Came From is both inspiring and subversive.

Similarly, Bali Padda’s Token Brown Guy raises vital questions about our society’s values. His Hindi rendition of a classic Aussie TV theme is riotous in all the right ways.

I usually make much of the fact that I don’t write ‘reviews’ but rather what I call ‘responses’. A night like this beats my best intentions because there is just so much – a deluge of surprises and spectacles, a torrent of wonders and revelations.

Like the annual flood of the old Nile, it overwhelms Life, and it feeds Life. Of course, it is Life. (Old Chum)

Veronica Kaye

Short and Sweet Cabaret Week 1

til Sat 11 Jan at New Theatre

The cabaret element of the Short and Sweet festival runs til Jan 19

4 Responses to “Short and Sweet Cabaret”

  1. warlach January 9, 2014 at 7:05 am #

    Great write up of a great line up 🙂

    We hope you can come see us Wild Cards kids this Sunday too 🙂

  2. warlach January 9, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    Great write up of a great line up!

    Us After Ever After kids, and the rest of the Wild Cards, sure hope you can come along this Sunday too 🙂

    • veronicakaye January 10, 2014 at 12:35 am #

      Unfortunately I’m not going to be make ‘Wild Cards’. But a big chookas!!!!
      And thanks for reading the blog.


  1. Cabaret. Life is a… | Maryann Wright - January 15, 2014

    […] veterans reaching out their hand gratis to help me over the next few weeks to work on my material. One lovely review noted that NUTS is “a playful presentation of history’s eccentrics…Wright has a […]

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