Alchemy | Ali McGregor9.30pm on a Monday night is a harsh time to be opening a show, but it didn’t seem to faze sultry singer Ali McGregor. “Monday night in Perth,” she purred to the enthusiastic opening night audience at her new show Alchemy; “how rock is that!”

Smoking hot jazz would be more appropriate, as McGregor swayed and crooned through interpretations of the trashy pop songs that influenced her in the eighties and nineties. Opening with an impressive rendition of Tainted Love (Soft Cell), listening to McGregor’s velvety vocals, I knew we were in for a treat. 

Over the last 10 years, classically trained McGregor has moved from one of Opera Australia’s principal Sopranos, to an extremely versatile Jazz, Comedy, and Burlesque, (really – everything) singer and performer. The 2013 Perth Fringe is the first stop for Alchemy after rave responses last year at the Adelaide and Edinburgh Fringe. In a busy first half of the year McGregor and her three piece band will be touring to Sydney, regional Victoria and regional WA. 

Musical Director (and keyboard player) Sam Keveers has collaborated with McGregor to produce some witty, awe inspiring, and laugh out loud hybrids for Alchemy. Examples included the hilarious mash up between the lyrics of Aqua’s I’m a Barbie Girl with the melody of Ella Fitzgerald’s Making Whoopie, or the musically impressive blues/funk medley of Prodigy songs. I have never heard the phrase “smack my bitch up” sung quite so beautifully. 

Chris Wallace on drums and the shoeless Rodrigo Aravena on Bass (he forgot his dress shoes) rounded out the three piece internationally flavoured band. The talented trio were relaxed and professional, and looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves as they created top class music. 

McGregor’s classical background came to the fore in her renditions of KISS’s You were made for loving me, and Blur’s Woo Hoo where she trilled and thrilled. Her extraordinary breath control is showcased throughout, but none more so than in Push It (Salt-N-Pepa), which came complete with accents and amusing hand movements / facial expressions. 

We hear about McGregor’s relationship with each song throughout the show, and it’s this addition that makes Alchemy so personal and believable. Who would have thought an intelligent gal like McGregor would think that Madonna’s La Isla Bonita was about a sexy man called Pedro?

The short one hour show is not enough, and McGregor could easily have entertained the audience for another set. Indeed, it would be great if next time we see her in Perth, she’s the other side of the Cultural Centre Precinct on the big stage that is the PIAF festival gardens. The Spiegeltent is great, but the big stage is where McGregor belongs.


Working Management presents
Alchemy
Ali McGregor

Venue: The West Australian Idolize Spiegeltent | Perth Cultural Centre Northbridge
Dates: 13 – 17 Feb, 2013
Tickets: $35.00
Bookings: www.fringeworld.com.au