In the last two days I’ve been to see two cabaret shows in which the focus has been on new arrangements of older pop and folk songs. The one I went to see tonight, “Lemon Tart” was really sensational, while the other, “Bravo” was okay.
Bravo is Australia’s answer to “Il Divo”, the “pop-era” group put together by Simon Cowell of “American Idol” fame, with their operatic style interpretations of pop songs, including Toni Braxton’s “Unchain My Heart”. Last night was Bravo’s first public performance and it showed many ways. As they entered the stage at Star City Casino, they adopted much of the “Il Divo” style posturing, with sullen looks and puckered cheeks taking on almost as much significance as the songs themselves. In the first half of the show, their dialogue was also totally un-natural and very laboured, a point they had rectified by the second half. By the second half, they’d also ditched the Marcs suits (yes, they told us who provided their suits), and they were far more comfortable both in their singing and in their onstage patter. Unlike the first half, there were a couple of terrific moments in the second half, including a Simon & Garfunkel melody. I think they’ll be successful, but they really needed some good direction.
In tonight’s show, Genevieve Lemon also noted the importance of good direction, giving thanks to Tony Sheldon because “without him, we’d just be a band”. But what a band! I’ve been a fan of Genevieve Lemon for quite some time, having seen her perform as an actress, though never as a singer. Along with Josh Quong Tart (and his brother Brendon), Genevieve performed an eclectic collection of songs on the premise that she sang those with a male vocal and he sang those with a female vocal.
Highlights included Genevieve’s gentle interpretation of the Midnight Oil song, “Blue Sky Mining” and Josh & Brendon’s beautiful interpretation of the song “I Know Him So Well” from the musical, “Chess”. Both songs brought me, literally to tears. Terrific stuff.