Cabaret Festival Review: Cake

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Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 20 June 2018

The show was based on an interesting concept: the human hunger to take things to excess, almost the seven deadly sins. As a vehicle to display Joanna Allen’s many talents it was spot on. Both written and performed by Allen, it was directed by Michael Ralph and covered most musical styles. The staging was slightly bizarre with a gold encrusted bath, complete with shower and curtain, as the main feature. Allen’s costume was a mixture of eras, wig and headdress reflecting Marie Antoinette and jump suit/dress mirroring the 80s, and the music was just as mixed.

Many familiar songs were part of several mash-ups and most were tuned to a different genre from their origin. It made some well-known songs interesting, starting with Addicted to You, Food Glorious Food, and a great version of Let’s Do It. There were obvious candidates for inclusion in a show on excess: Desire, Money (sounding not much like Abba), Putting on the Ritz and then a switch to a slow version of So In Love. If You Go Away melded into You Ought to Know and Nobody Does it Better. Tubthumping includes You Really Got Me and flows into Sweet Dreams!

Unfortunately there were sound problems, a mic malfunction, handled professionally by Ms Allen and a few sound levels which partially drowned vocals and came across muddy, unusual for the AFC. The band of local musicians was tight and coped beautifully with the mashing of unusual tunes. The pianist, Mark Simeon Ferguson, was also the musical director and with Julian Ferraretto on violin, Alana Dawes on bass and Jarrad Payne on drums they were top notch.

Despite being a little confusing this production was highly entertaining.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Rating: 4/5

Venue: Space, Adelaide Festival Theatre
Season:  20- 21 June 2018
Duration: 70min
Tickets:  $41.90 – $51.90
Bookings: https://www.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au/events/johanna-allen-cake/

 

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