Left – Meow Meow. Image – Claudio Raschella & Karl Giant
Kudos to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival for commissioning such a magnificent moment of theatre nostalgia. There could be no one better than Meow Meow to capture the history of Her Majesty’s Theatre, and drag it purring right into the present.
She has the spectacular ability to hold a room of people magically suspended in a freefall of aural wonderment. And here we were treated to that experience, alongside a raw and candid style of storytelling rare for long-standing Meow Meow followers.
The concept of Souvenir premiered originally in the historic Theatre Royal in Brighton, UK as an homage to the theatre’s past. So what a treat it was for the Cabaret Festival to re-commission it for Adelaide.
Her customary ‘Kamikaze Cabaret’ style was on point at the opening, while she straddled audience members to get up to the stage. Then this fierce and irreverent energy faded and was replaced with a more subdued nostalgic mood of honest storytelling.
Each song was preceded by a particular tale connected to the theatre itself. With lots of well-researched local name-dropping and connections, I must admit it was an educational experience for this reviewer and no doubt for the other less Adelaide-arts-history buffs among the audience too.
Conducting the delightful musicians of the Orchester der Kleinen Regiment, Musical Director Jherek Bischoff guided us into emotive crescendos and soft, hanging moments of tension in which the audience seemed to be holding their breath between beats. This musical virtuosity combined with Meow Meow’s magnetic presence and spectacular voice constructed an achingly beautiful time out of time experience.
In contrast to the gentle, reflective mood, Meow Meow beautifully brought in a children’s chorus, the ‘Lilliputian Opera Company’, to perform in several numbers, whose younger members provided a natural comic relief simply by being five years old and bedazzled under stage lights.
In between her moments as raconteur and comical diva we were treated to the full breadth of Meow Meow’s spectacular vocal talent. She moves effortlessly from full tilt opera to spoken word poetry to heavy breathing Weimar style. And every moment is equally powerful and achingly beautiful.
She truly is a contemporary superstar of the cabaret world, and it was a privilege to see her perform with such an iconic Adelaide flavor.
Adelaide Cabaret Festival presents
Venue: Her Majesty’s Theatre
Date: 17 – 18 June 2017
Bookings: 131 246 | adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au