Left – Marika Aubrey. Photo – Blueprint Studios
This is a simply terrific show!
Aubrey has crafted a wonderful piece of music theatre, skilfully, weaving her own Ukrainian family history with the story of the vaudeville legend Sophie Tucker. Tucker was born dirt poor, in fact, by the side of a road, in 1884. Born the same year in a neighbouring village, Fedko Kryczko, managed to immigrate to Australia.
Tucker’s family fled to America, where as a child she began her career singing for patrons in the family-run ethnic restaurant. Also, crucially, she learnt how to make an audience laugh. Risqué material became her trademark
Tucker had a voice and she could “sell” a song. She was bold and brassy and cabaret artiste Marika Aubrey – Fedko's great grand-daughter – does her character proud.
What made the narrative so strong was the remarkable use of detail used to convey the political and social tone of the times. An amazing and vivid example was the early days of Tucker’s career where she “blacked up” and became a “Coon shouter”, rendering Black and White minstrel type ditties to a happily racist audience.
A statuesque redhead, clad in cream satin Aubrey vamped her audience, wisely singling out men for her particular attention. They loved it!
Later, entrusting a touchingly shy fellow, she encouraged him to unzip her gown. ”Are you sure?” he endearingly asked. She was! This revealed Victorian under garments: gorgeously frilled lavender knickers, modest white bustier, black seamed stockings, suspenders and, purple lace up high heels.
Aubrey has a fabulous voice, impeccable diction and her musical arrangements, courtesy of gifted Musical Director and pianist Bev Kennedy are wonderful. Mention must also be made of the excellent local professionals Chris Tarr on drums and Paul Pooley on bass.
Highlights ranged from wonderfully self-deprecating, audience-manipulative number “Nobody Loves a Fat Girl” to the fabulously soulful “The Man I Love”, beautifully segued into “After You’ve Gone”.
Aubrey is versatility itself. She can belt out a big number (tunefully), swivel syncopated dance moves and emotionally move the audience with heartfelt and beautifully articulated, regretful blues.
The full house was attentive and grew more and more vociferous in their appreciation of this delightful package.
Aubrey and Kennedy could take this marvellous concoction anywhere in the worldwide festival/cabaret scene and hold their heads high. A class act!
Cabaret Soiree 2014
The Last of the Red Hot Mamas
Venue: DownStairs at the Maj, 825 Hay St, Perth
Dates: 25 – 27 Sep, 2014
Bookings: 1300 795 012 | ticketek.com.au