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By: Jun. 19, 2016
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Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Friday 17th June 2016

Western Australian, Jen de Ness, came to Adelaide last year for the Cabaret Fringe with her composing partner, Bill Atkinson, accompanying her on guitar, to present a cleverly devised cabaret piece about the quirky people who regularly attend an imaginary venue, The Green Tile Tango Club. This year she is back with another show, See Things Like You, that once again draws on this these stories in song, as well as including a number of jazz standards.

To do this, she has recruited three of Adelaide's finest jazz musicians, led by recently retired head of the School of Jazz Studies at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, Bruce Hancock, on keyboard, with John Aue, on bass, and Yuri Markov, on drums. That is an impressive line-up. Bruce Hancock was also involved in writing the arrangements.

The show was timed to coincide with the launch of her CD, also titled See Things Like You, which featured Hancock on Piano, and Atkinson on guitar, with a larger orchestra. Watch for my separate review of the CD once the Cabaret Festival and Cabaret Fringe have finished and I have some time to properly devote to this.

The format for this performance was an abbreviated version of the tales from the Tango club, the narrative and songs all devised by Jen de Ness, interspersed with familiar songs from the 1930s and 40s. There was, as they say, something for everybody.

The performance is multifaceted, as de Ness links all of the songs, acts out the roles of the Tango club patrons, and sings across several musical genres. She is a most expressive singer, with a unique ability to create and rapidly switch between characters, with all of the emotional content in the songs subtly dealt with. Be sure to catch her shows whenever she is in Adelaide, and be sure to buy the CD.

Here is a small sample of what can expected at a Jen De Ness cabaret performance.


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