BWW Review: OPENING NIGHT GALA: ADELAIDE CABARET FRINGE 2018 at The German Club
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Friday 1st June 2018.With the Cabaret Fringe Director, Paul Boylen, standing by, resplendent in top hat, white tie, and tails, the Cabaret Fringe started with the Opening Night Gala, hosted by the Creative Director, Jennifer Kingwell, and featuring a goodly number of performers who will be presenting their productions over the next few weeks. After a delayed start, held up by sound checks, Jennifer Kingwell was joined by The Adelaide Big Band to open the evening's performance in style. In spite of the extended sound checks, though, the vocal mix was still a little muddy, with plenty of vowels but insufficient consonants. She went on to welcome the audience, and give an introduction to the evening, while the sound operator played back a recording of the opening number, without bothering to use headphones. The distractions were only just beginning. The sound operator and his two young helpers generated more sound that the performers onstage, with constant chattering at normal speaking levels, not only through the patter between numbers but also during performances. Unfortunately, I was sitting at a table right next to his mixing desk. This incompetence and arrogance showed great disrespect for the performers and the patrons alike. A capella vocal group, Allegria, were next up, with three numbers from their production that demonstrated their fine vocal skills and ability to produce some quite difficult harmonies. They will be presenting Allegria After Dark in the Adina Treasury Tunnels on 21st June at 7pm and 9pm. As the name implies, the Adina Hotel occupies what was once the Treasury building and, yes, beneath it there is a system of tunnels used for storing bullion ready to be minted into coins. Diana Scalzi, accompanied on electric piano by Kingwell, tapped a rhythmic introduction to Walk on By, and who doesn't love a tap number, before picking up her guitar and launching into the song. Scalzi is well-known on the Adelaide music scene for her superb voice and great arrangements, both on display in this Bacharach favourite. She is on for one night only at Nexus Cabaret on Saturday 23rd June at 8pm, with Cabaret Allsorts, and is also performing her own show, Bacharach 'n' Tap, at The Jade on 7th and 15th June at 7:30. Phi Theodoros and her band, the Tainted Saints, a very talented trio, changed the pace and she sang Frequent Flier, followed by considerable applause. Theodoros is another rising star in the Adelaide musical firmament. She will present Finding Me: Volume 2 at Raj House from 4th to 23rd June. What is a Gala without a drag act? Molly Morphine and the Southern Sisters filled the bill with a lively number and some snappy dance moves. They will be seen in Molly's Game and Movie Night at the Sax and Violins Film Society on 16th June at 6:30. Cabaret Fringe 2018 Ambassador, Pamela Shaw, sang three songs from her show, Naughty, but more of that after I attend to review the whole performance. Suffice to say that if you don't have tickets yet, be quick. She will be performing at La Boheme, starting on 2nd June. Jennifer Kingwell then closed the first half and sent us off to the bar for more delicious German beer and, before we knew it, she was welcoming us back to the second half. Burlesque darling, Viola Verve, performed to a bright and jazz-influenced Tim Burton tune, an unusually interesting choice of music for her show, and she was accompanied by cheers and whistling, obviously having a strong following amongst this Adelaide audience. Her show, A Tim Burton Tribute: Once Upon a Teaser, can be seen at Nexus on 22nd June 10pm. Sophie deLightful had the audience in the palm of her hand with a very clever parody that will mean that you can never watch The Little Mermaid the same way again. Her amazingly powerful voice and great stage presence are impressive, but I will tell you more after I review her show. Her performance, Anatomy of a Power Pussy, plays at La Boheme from 2nd to 10th June Studio Flamenco then took to the stage, with Marduk Gault switching from the electric guitar that he played as a member of the Tainted Saints, to a flamenco guitar. Peter Fernee joined him on Cajon as they accompanied the three marvellous dancers, Susi Masi, Emma Fernee, and Yasmine Amber. As always, this Flamenco performance was a real crowd pleaser. The group will present Recuerdos at Nexus on 15th and 16th June at 8pm. Jennifer Kingwell and Phi Theodoros got together for a lively and well-received number as The Adelaide Big Band set up for the finale, in which they accompanied that popular singer, Bill Parton. Mustang Sally and Lionel Ritchie's Easy brought forth cries for more and, quickly digging out the scores, they launched into Can't Take my Eyes off of You, during which all of the singers made their way onstage to sing with him. Bill Parton and The Adelaide Big Band are presenting Bill Parton's Rock and Pop Swings in the Top Room at the Arkaba Hotel at 8pm on 21st June. Be sure to wear your dancing shoes when you go to this one. As usual, an evening can only contain so much, and there are many more acts in this year's Cabaret Fringe, so grab a copy of the guide or look online and book here.