Cabaret is a tricky business. No-one is more attuned to this than Ruth Wilkin, who has been treading the boards and winning awards in the cabaret business over the last few years.
The winner of the 2011 Short and Sweet Cabaret, (best writing, people's choice and the overall champion) run each year at Chapel off Chapel in Prahran. Since then, Wilkin has developed her ten-minute act into a 50-minute full-length performance.
Held at the Butterfly Club in South Melbourne, Wilkin went through the motions as the struggling singer/songwriter and was appallingly good as the exceptionally bad actress she depicted. However, while a wonderful insight into the self-deprecating psyche of the performer, Wilkin was almost too good in her role and was sometimes difficult to bear. An exceptional singer, Wilkin's self-composed songs were a delight, (in particular "Everybody Loves Peanuts") as well as her likeable personality shone through her otherwise painful character.
An honest performance straight from the heart, Wilkin's character embodied the wannabee actress/singer/dancer/athlete in all of us and showed the drastic lengths one is capable of when following their dream. More than "just another songwriter," Wilkin has turned what would have been a quick and quirky piece into a 50-minute pantomime, which at times struggled to meet the mark, often repeating the same shtick throughout the show.
Clearly a very talented young woman, Wilkin's clever lyrics and at times stunningly beautiful songs brought the audience to their feet and showed her to be as popular with the crowds as ever. Accompanied by the incomparable Trevor Jones on piano he was as delightful as ever and kept up with the madcap antics of Wilkin throughout the show.
Not reaching any particular conclusion, Wilkin's performance delivered her to be the unstoppable powerhouse performer incapable of giving up on her dreams. It appears her sweet naivety will be ringing in audiences around the country for as long as she has a little something to work on.
A Little Something I've Been Working On
Venue: The Butterfly Club | Bank Street South Melbourne
Dates: 23 – 26 February, 2012