There’s no question that Cabaret Latte is a versatile group.
Combining Renee Cash’s pure soprano voice with the more contemporary and versatile voice of Sally Vertigan, alongside Ian Sequeira’s excellent tenor, this trio performed songs spanning centuries, languages and genres.
Their irreverence was delightful, as they swapped from an operatic number to a song about the Sydney Mardi Gras, then to numbers from Sting, the Bee Gees and many favourite musicals. They mish-mashed songs into beautifully sung arrangements and had a ball as they did it.
Their enjoyment of musical theatre stood out in their version of “Three little maids from school” from The Mikado. When moments before there stood a passionate male tenor hitting the high notes of a lieder, there now was as a school maid of the strangest proportions, fluttering eye-lids and a delicate fan whilst singing in a lovely falsetto. Ian Sequeira made the most of his strong range and delighted in playing the songs’ characters. Alongside a heavily pregnant female counterpart, they were three decidedly strange school maids.
The audience experienced what the music of Rossini might sound like if the lyrics were written by the wife of Tiger Woods. Lines like “The dirty bum” sung in three part harmony to a Rossini tune had everyone laughing. Their tribute to Peter Garret, “True Colours”, was another satirical chuckle at recent events.
As they eased into the show, we saw their senses of humour shine and more characters appearing in the songs. Sally Vertigan is the most comfortable on stage from the beginning, and while her baby bump is prominent, she is full of energy. She is by far the most versatile of the group, easily handling the high notes of the classical pieces, then getting into the spirit of the contemporary numbers and characters. Her face is always expressive and lit up, a joy to watch. However, the balance between the performers is well maintained, and they are a solid and well-connected trio who genuinely seem to enjoy working together.
Their scripting, while amusing, was about as obvious as their Spamalot number, leaving subtly outside in the cold. The show lacked a natural feel and a flow that smoother segues would have added.
Warwick Sharpin mans the keyboard, and his joy is apparent as he bounces along with his music, grinning to the singers and joining in for back-up vocals and scripted sections. His confidence would be increased by learning the script, rather than reading off it from his music stand.
The show livened up when they moved into the second act and ditched the opera. Though excellently sung, the operatic pieces were dull in comparison to the musical theatre and original songs. We jigged and laughed our way through the second act, and much of the first. This show was full of cleverness and talent, and when they relax into their stage presence and their scripts, Cabaret Latte will be a truly fantastic evening of entertainment.
Cabaret Latte presents
Broadway, Opera…and all that Jazz
Venue: Chapel Off Chapel | 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran
Dates: 5 – 7 March
Times: Fri and Sat 8pm, Sun 3pm
Tickets: $30 Full, $25 Concession and Groups 10+ (+ transaction fee)
Bookings: 03 8290 7000 or www.chapeloffchapel.com.au