What a superb evening’s cabaret in every sense!
The soigné Ms Bodycoat strode onto the stage in classic Deitrich attire; cigarette leg black trousers, crisply tailored man’s white evening shirt, cummerbund and killer heels. Of course it didn’t hurt that she is also possessed of similarly sculpted high cheekbones and her make-up and hair was immaculate. She assumed the persona in faultless style.
The atmosphere was set with "When The World was Young" and immediately began a reflective, sometimes wistful, but totally controlled retrospective view of her career achievements. Assuming a slightly aloof, distance-viewing demeanour Bodycoat interspersed songs with a few lines and quotes defining aspects of Deitrich’s career; cabaret chanteuse, allied forces wartime tour artiste and film star.
The stage was bare but a large rear screen featured an exquisitely compiled series of black and white stills and footage of Deitrich’s films. These complemented the songs to perfection. Interestingly, many of the black and white clips from films would have been unfamiliar to the audience which ranged widely in age. There were murmurs of recognition for footage and stills from Lola and The Blue Angel.
Bodycoat’s diction was precision perfect, affecting a Germanic lilt. Accompanist Tom O’Halloran was absolutely outstanding. Piano arrangements by Graham Wood were marvellous, subtle when required, lavish and lush in other numbers.
The poignant “Lili Marlene” was delivered beautifully. “See What the Boys in the Backroom Will Have” allowed Bodycoat to boldly raise an exquisite leg onto the appreciative centre front table in perfect Marlene style. Here and there we glimpsed wry half smiles and ironic humour Bodycoat wove skilfully into her performance.
The show moved onto some very emotional moments with war themed songs accompanied by heart-rending footage of post war-torn Germany. Sweet faced children played in the bomb devastated rubble as Bodycoat exquisitely rendered songs including “The War is Over” (It Seems We Won. Hooray) and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”. Another highlight was the savage rendition of the seamy, brutal underworld depicted in “The Port of Amsterdam.”
After a clever behind the curtain costume change while still singing, Bodycoat emerged clad in bias cut black satin Costarella sheath, jet jewels and ostrich bolero. Stunning stuff!
We then moved to the movies. There were so many; romantic footage with a wide variety of leading men in passionate embraces and partings. There was a memorable rendition of “Go Away From My Window”. Nightclub settings featured the cautionary tale “Look Me Over” and the famously languorous and funny “Laziest Girl in Town". These were accompanied by skilfully cut and chosen film footage showed the cynical side to the ostensibly glamorous life. To the audience’s palpable delight the footage included the then-outrageous top hat and tailed Garbo in androgynous flirtation mode with male and female night club patrons. Cue to the finale, everybody’s favourite “Falling In Love Again” which drew a standing ovation.
An hour and a half of faultless entertainment which simply flew by.
Cabaret Soiree Carnivale
MINOR MAJOR MARLENE
Written & performed by Ali Bodycoat
Directed by Grant Caprioti
Venue: DownStairs at the Maj, His Majesty's Theatre 825 Hay St, Perth
Dates/Times: Thursday 16, Friday 17 & Saturday 18 August @ 7.30pm
Bookings: BOCS Ticketing (08) 9484 1133 | www.bocsticketing.com.au | BOCS outlets