In black hooded capes, Emma Dean and Jake Diefenbach take up position at the electric keyboard and the upright piano respectively.
The duo take the audience through a grown up fairy-tale journey through the use of ten of their own compositions, and spoken word. The songs work on feelings that most of the audience will have had, at some point in their lives, the feeling of loneliness, despair and a certain comfort and safety in that space. They then move to focus on the need to live life and take the risks, and accepting the risk of hurt and the subsequent healing and the pain that can entail as well.
The performers alternate between the two instruments, with the piano used for the bulk of the composition and the keyboard used to fill out the music with more synthesised sounds from bells and electronic sounds to, simply, a second piano. There is one number where Dean accompanies Diefenbach’s piano with a violin, both providing vocals.
Throughout, the vocal are strong and clear. Dean has an unusual style, a dusky part American, part English, part Australian singing voice which is hard to pinpoint, but it serves the songs well, drawing the audience in to another world. Diefenbach has a sweet voice that can follow Dean’s phrases seamlessly and also has a good solid tone. Both handle the range of styles well with some as darker ballads and others, including a folk reel.
The music allows a range of emotions and both performers connect with the audience well, even when at the upright piano, where they have to sing side on. The duo work well together, and have the stage presence and grace to ease the audience through the journey. Stripped of their capes, Dean is like a ethereal sprite in her black dress with sparkly white over-skirt and Diefenbach is the picture of a storybook boy, an image of innocence in shorts and braces, further emphasising the fairy-tale connections.
These are two names to look out for, as their creativity and talent is immense.
This is for anyone who believes that living means dreaming and doing, regardless of the cost, or needs to have that reconfirmed, or who simply enjoys wonderfully performed new compositions.
Reviewed by Jade Kops, special guest Fringe Critic, Glam Adelaide
Venue: La Boheme, 36 Grote St, Adelaide
Season: 10pm, Fri 16 Mar, 9pm, Sat 17 Mar, 7pm Sun 18 Mar 2012
Tickets: Adult $25, Bank SA Support Act $10, Concession $20, Fringe Benefits $20
Bookings: Fringetix 1300-FRINGE (1300-374643), their outlets, or online