BWW REVIEW: SYDNEY CABARET FESTIVAL Tim Draxl Draws On The Mysterious Album LOVE IS A DRAG As He Delves Into History With The Heartfelt Interpretations Of Love Songs
Thursday 11th July 2019, 7pm, Seymour Centre
Tim Draxl returns to the Cabaret stage for SYDNEY CABARET FESTIVAL with another beautiful blend of history, storytelling and honest personal expression as he shares his interpretations of the songs originally written for women in LOVE IS A DRAG. Following on from successful seasons of FREEWAY: THE CHET BAKER JOURNEY, Draxl has reunited with creative partner Bryce Hallett to conceive and write a new work that delves into the history of the path to acceptance of homosexuality in society through song, historical stories and personal experience.
LOVE IS A DRAG is drawn from the album of the same name that was released in 1962 under a shroud of mystery as it bears no names as to who was involved in the record's creation. The record comprises 12 love songs, traditionally written for women to sing about a man. What makes it unusual is that a man sings these well known pieces, essentially changing the story to being that of a man declaring his love for another man since they were performed as written and not altered as many other artists were doing. Everyone involved, from the singer and band to the producer knew the risk they were taking producing this work in a time when homosexuality was still illegal so chose to remain anonymous until producer Murray Garrett and singer Gene Howard were finally revealed in 2012.
Presenting a perfect expression of what great cabaret should be, Draxl, supported by a three piece band led by musical director Daniel Edmonds, engages emotions, educates and entertains as he connects with the music through his beautiful interpretation of the songs and the associated stories that are interspersed between them. He delves into stories from the 40's, 50's and 60's to highlight the lengths people had to go to in order to prevent being discovered whilst also pairing these with the songs as the love songs the people of his stories possibly would have like to have been able to sing to their partners. He compares the secrecy and fear with his own coming out story to highlight how far society has come but also reminds the audience that there is still room for further growth to a world were no one will fear what a loved one or friend may say if they 'come out' and that people will no longer judge based on what someone wears or who they sleep with.
Draxl has a delightful presence. His storytelling is captivating as he shifts between presenting letters and thoughts in character, complete with a range of voices, and explaining history and his own stories in his own voice. His singing is sublime with deep sultry resonant purr and a delicious old-world jazz tone as he takes on works like Mad About The Boy, Bewitched, and The Boy Next Door. He moves beautifully from playful and lively to thoughtful, pensive and poignant. He makes the songs his own with altered emphasis to shift them to suit his story rather than just being renditions of other singers. His physicality has a subtlety to ensure the mood is not broken.
While LOVE IS A DRAG had a short engagement at the SYDNEY CABARET FESTIVAL, hopefully Draxl will reprise this performance and take the show on tour so that more audiences can experience this beautiful work and Draxl's intoxicating voice.