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BWW Review: SEX, LIES & BETRAYAL - MEMOIRS OF A HOLLYWOOD STAR at Tusk High Bar

Sex, Lies & Betrayal – Memoirs of a Hollywood Star has one more performance in Melbourne on the Friday 21st January 2022 so get in quick!

BWW Review: SEX, LIES & BETRAYAL - MEMOIRS OF A HOLLYWOOD STAR at Tusk High Bar

Are you after a night of intrigue, beauty, betrayal, and debauchery? Given current world events I am sure the answer is yes! JTM productions presentation of Sex, Lies & Betrayal - Memoirs of a Hollywood Star is therefore the show for you. Produced, written, and directed by Margaret Fisk AM and staring Karla Hillam, this 60-minute one-women cabaret is stylised in the film-noir genre and appears to be based on the true-life events of an actress in 'Tinseltown' during the 'Golden Era'. While we are simply introduced to her as 'Miss Nightingale', one can't help but be intrigued as to who this 'femme fatale' actually was....

I was lucky enough to witness 'Miss Nightingale' in the act... of reading aloud her wickedly indulgent memoirs, on a balmy Melbourne summer evening, upstairs in the art-deco City Room at The Tusk High Bar in Windsor. Given the current wave of Omicron and the amount of people having to isolate, I was unsure if myself and my 'plus one' would be the only people out and about! However, as I arrived, this appeared not to be the case with the Chapel St precent still buzzing with activity. The couples already upstairs in the 'Great Gatsby' styled bar seemed to be very happily enjoying a tantalisingly yummy pre-show dinner, albeit in a COVID-19 safe fashion.

As the show begins and the bar lights dim, Hillam enters, making her way down the bar and towards the stage, while strongly encapsulating the essence and soul of 'Miss Nightingale'. By doing so she transports her audience into the early hours of morning, where 'anything goes', and secrets seem easy to spill! Christina Logan-Bell's design and Jason Bovaird's lighting really help to create a 1940's film noir atmosphere and a stunning red wig by Tamed by Trent Ashley, and make-up design by Brett Michael Artistry, turn Hillam into a true Hollywood star.

Hillam's voice sat perfectly in the light and whimsical Cole Porter songs "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "Love for Sale", as well other jazz standards, such as "Nature Boy". The incorporation of other more modern songs into the cabaret however had a bit more of a 'hit and miss' effect. Hillam's performance of Christina Aguilera's "Mercy On Me" and David Geuetta and Sia's "Titanium" did not appear to sit comfortably in her vocal range. In Hillam's defence she was not aided well by the sound system, which seemed to be overpowered by her belt, resulting in sound distortion. Hillam's performance of Evanescence's "My Immortal" and Sara Bareilles "She Used To Be Mine" however did pack a powerful emotional punch, giving depth to 'Miss Nightingale'.

The use of both modern songs and contextually appropriate jazz standards throughout the performance did successfully allow the emotional undertones of Fisk's narrative writing to be well supported, while still allowing her pen work to flourish with a flirtatious and titillating nature, which suits this cabaret well.

Sex, Lies & Betrayal - Memoirs of a Hollywood Star has one more performance in Melbourne on the Friday 21st January 2022 so get in quick!

To book ticket visit www.eventbrite.com.au/e/sex-lies-betrayal-tickets-214455170187
For more information on JTM Productions, please visit jtmproductions.com.au



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