My Friends Went Overseas And All They Brought Me Back Was This Lousy Cabaret Act was a bit like a long haul flight. We boarded late, got stuck in a box that we had no option but to stay in and put up with a couple of Virgin Blue-esque groan worthy jokes. It wasn’t bad, I wasn’t bored but it was necessary to sit through it in order for it to end. It didn’t rock my socks off. But don’t stop reading yet...it gets better. (Yes, really. Don’t get smart with me!)
Rather light and rollicking, but lacking a real cabaret feel, MFWO... played a little like Aussie Idol. Again – it wasn’t bad but ‘fourth wall’ syndrome was milked a little too hard. It was difficult to feel the pizzazz because the space reduced any opportunity of cast getting up close, personal, hot, sexy, silly, fun, funny etc etc with spectators. There was no room to connect with the audience, for the cast of 4 to move around the stage, amongst the viewers. Of course we cannot blame Yellow Glass Theatre for this. There are limited affordable theatre spaces in which budding theatre companies can reside in this city and the Studio at Subi Arts Centre is, believe it or not, one of the larger.
MFWO... succeeded beautifully in rubbing in the fact that we are all stuck in Perth. What was nice about MFWO is that it was light enough that we could dream of being somewhere else. The medley of songs about places, places about songs, songs about airplanes, travel, gay stewardesses (or ‘stewards’ if that is a more masculine term) was a cute way to let my imagination take me on my own overseas frolic. Even the piercing, shrill cry of multiple screaming, projectile vomiting infants – an all too familiar ‘perk’ of international trips – was nicer than facing the reality of being in WA on election weekend. The three songbirds even managed to crack a giggle or two out of this cynical, bitter reviewer with a severe allergy to musical theatre.
Those who read my reviews regularly (which most likely only consists of my boss at Australian Stage when I submit!) know that I find favourites fast and quickly latch on. Ruth Wilkin was definitely the stand out voice in this production. She didn’t have any hint of the nasal or ‘American’ quality that some young theatre singers have (we all know why but let’s not get me started on cultural influence). Meaning that everything was clear, easy to hear and understand and lovely to listen to. Ruth was very pleasurable on the ear and her voice deserves better. Not that there was anything wrong with what she sang, but it would be great to see her singing something with more “oomph” not far down the line. She sings that Paris makes her horny and she makes me....okay not quite, but she looks like she has great fun, which is very important.
MFWO really only lacked glitter. A certain pizzazz. As previously mentioned, this may have come down to the available space. Everything else was pretty seamless. Very seamless. The voices were very competent, piano playing was cheery; everything was ‘good’, ‘fine’ and ‘well’. Breezy, snappy and happy but not ground breaking. Good Saturday night entertainment because on Saturday nights do we really want to be using our brains to deconstruct and analyse a piece of Brecht or Beckett? Probably not.
Yellow Glass Theatre makes me want to be their friend. And they are my new friend. They have promise. They’re the type of friend that goes overseas then rubs it in your face by posting haughty photos of themselves at all these cool places, meeting hot guys and girls, getting drunk in the middle of a city they know nothing about, buying really cool presents for everyone else and bringing you back something like a T-shirt or a public transport swipe card with no money on it, or bank note that is the equivalent to something miserable like 3c AUD then finally comes back home all fresh and free looking telling you all their thrilling stories while you had to stay home and slave away at your boring desk job, stuck in your cubicle with only your screensaver to remind you of better times...how could you do this to me Yellow Glass Theatre!
They’re the type of friend that despite torturing you in this way, you still want to see thrive and be happy and healthy. Good luck for the future, Yellow Glass. Keep growing.
yellow glass theatre inc
My Friends Went Overseas And All They Brought Me Back Was This Lousy Cabaret Act
Venue: The Studio, Subiaco Arts Centre, Hamersley Rd, Subiaco
Dates/Times: 3,4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13 September 2008 @ 8pm
Bookings: BOCS 9484 1133 / www.bocsticketing.com.au