"Stalking is just another way to say I Love You". A woman. An accordion. Songs you know and love. Carol Young (Gentlemen Prefer Curves, The Geiger Sisters) explores how easy it is to fall in love with someone you've never met in this spooky solo comedy/cabaret performance for CabFringe, as part of the Adelaide Fringe. Music To Watch Boys By is a very funny confection. Entering the tiny La Boheme space with a camera at the ready Young snaps shots of unsuspecting men around the audience guaranteeing to upload the shots onto Facebook later that evening and nothing else. She presents songs with piano accordion at the ready and a disembodied voice announces important points along the way as she describes various attempts to avoid accepting she really is a stalker... sorry, was a stalker; evidently she's better now, even if this prognosis is her own.
Certainly there's a great store of talent here; Young is a well known performer around town with a great voice and slightly deeper than usual cabaret persona which, by all accounts, is not unusual in this unique CABfringe season at La Boheme. The venue has all the material you should by rights be seeing in the Spiegeltent as it travels the country next festival season.
Delivering songs such as 'I honestly love you' and 'I was made for loving you' immediately shower us with the insight into Young's talent, as these are not exactly what you'd expect from a piano accordion, and then in context of her tall tales of taking the very (very) long way home just to follow a fellow she simply knows she's destined to bump into, the sinister levels of these otherwise rather harmless songs are very apparent.
It's when Young delivers Blondie's 'In the flesh' that the peels of laughter become quite discordant with the slightly creepy quality she exudes as she sings. There's something extremely disarming about a nice woman starting to seem like a total maniac, and this is something Young has clearly thought through for peak comic effect.
No pun intended but a younger performer may have gone for the less subtle approach. As her fingers dart up and down the keys, so do her eyes dart about the room, and it seems that once she spies a man, the stare becomes penetrating and the fingers fumble, if only for a second, which she blows off the way great musicians can because it's happened so fast you're never sure it wasn't meant to be; and there incidentally is also the essence of a good stalker. Anyone would think it was just happenstance and never imagine that the whole meeting and eventual ruination of a life was mere coincidence. The blank stare and wry smile and big brown eyes are a great front, but once you've listened to the incidental patter the chill sets in, at least for the men in the room – even more scary than Carol's confessions are the shrieks of laughter from the women assembled, as if they agree that stalking is just one of those things, and women do it all the time.
A scrumptious moment when Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance' morphs into 'Puppet on a string' before things get what was once called 'hysterical' because it related to the madness of women in general. A fine conceit for a cabaret act, lots of musical fun, a little bit of sing-along and a lot to take in for the men. Wonderfully talented and delightfully unnerving, this is one deft daft dame doing more than merely watching boys to music.
2012 Adelaide Fringe
Music To Watch Boys By
Venue: La Boheme | 36 Grote Street, Adelaide
Dates: 16, 23 & 28 Feb 12 @ 10:00 pm
Bookings: www.adelaidefringe.com.au | 1300 FRINGE