Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 8th June 2018
Opening with Mercedes Benz and including legendary numbers such as Try (just a little bit harder), Ball and Chain and Little Girl Blue, Janis: Undead is a musical journey through the very short career of Janis Joplin.
Amber Martin does a great job of singing Joplin. Her impressive rock vocals nail the rough belt of some of Joplin’s most challenging songs including Me & Bobby McGee and Take Another Little Piece of My Heart. It is a wonder that she can belt three of these shows out in one weekend and even Martin herself jokes about the unlikely odds of that happening.
Although Martin’s voice is impressive, Janis: Undead doesn’t share a great deal about Joplin’s life and there were a couple of distractions including Martin reading a short monologue from a script instead of memorizing it, and continually medicating her throat with ginger, a constant reminder to the audience of what a challenge it is to emulate the legendary singer.
Disappointingly there was no mesmerising light show and no haze, leaving the psychedelic love fest promised in the publicity, up to your own imagination. Still Martin is a great singer and her warm and earthy performance stands up on its own.
The absolutely groovy band included three Adelaide boys Django Rowe, Matt Crago and Tim Wilson, and Martin’s New York MD Paul Leshan.
It is worth noting for those intending to see back to back cabaret shows, the first night performance ran over time by 35 minutes. The enthusiastic opening audience didn’t seem to mind one bit though and gave Martin a standing ovation.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Reviewed by Ceri Hutton
Venue: Banquet Room Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: Until June 10
Duration: 70 minutes – although opening night ran to 105