Rhonda Burchmore is Legs 11 was the second show of the exciting Cabaret Comedy Carnival at His Majesty’s Theatre. Opening with the song Lullaby to Broadway followed by Sondheim’s Broadway Baby, the audience was quickly drawn into the world of glitz and glamour.
Based on Burchmore's recently released autobiography of the same name, the cabaret was a trip down memory lane through her life and work. The performance, whilst not outstanding, was enjoyable, and the audience didn’t go away wanting for anything.
We were regaled of tales of rock eisteddfods and forgetting songs on live TV, studying at university in a country town, to performing on countless variety shows as she rose through the showbiz world both in Australia and England.
There were of course, many jokes about her legs; at times they were almost like another person! Burchmore doesn't have any qualms about showing them off in all their glory – both sequin encrusted outfits she wore had side splits to the top.
The band consisted of four local musicians (Paul Millard, Mark Underwood, Peter Jeavons, Chris Tarr) and Musical Director and Pianist Ray Alldridge. Sadly, the band weren't really engaging in the music. They didn't have the passion and the connection with each other that comes with familiarity and touring together, and it showed. They spent 99% of the time looking at their music, and there were moments where the band lacked the cohesion and precision to make it really snappy.
Burchmore’s voice is powerful, although I felt it lacked a depth of emotion in some of the songs. We were treated to a wide range of songs including Come on, Get happy, Goody Goody, Maybe this Time, Sweet Georgia Brown, and Birth of the Blues.
Each song had an associated story, some romantic, some funny, some heartfelt. To Sir with Love was for the university lecturer who taught Burchmore about the birds and the bees, whilst Do You Wanna Dance was the song she used to seduce her (now) husband.
A medley of songs from the musical Sugar Babes which she starred in on the West End, was interspersed with riotously rude tales about her co stars Mickey Rooney and Anne Miller.
Burchmore’s rendition of Martina McBride’s In My Daughters Eyes, as a tribute to her 16 year old daughter had the audience spell bound. It was a haunting and heartfelt piece, and the song that held the most emotion.
New York New York, one of my favourite songs, had the audience bopping, as did her rendition of ABBA's Dancing Queen, complete with dizzying twirls.
The night ended with the stunning old song made popular by Bobby Darin entitled The Curtain Falls. It was a fitting end to an enjoyable night.
Off comes the clown's disguise
The curtain's falling, the music softly dies
But I hope you're smiling as your filing out the door
As they say in this biz that's all there is,
There isn't any more
We've shared our moment
And as the moment ends
I've got a funny feeling we're parting now as friends”
The Cabaret and Comedy Carnivale
Musical Director Ray Alldridge
Venue: His Majesty's Theatre | 825 Hay Street, Perth
Date: June 1, 2011