The Adelaide Cabaret Festival has proven to cater to all ages and tastes this year. Some performances definitely appeal to a particular audience and Rachael Beck and Ian Stenlake’s More Than Words seems to target a niche market.
Fans of Stingers and Sea Patrol were out in force at the Dunstan Playhouse, giddy at the appearance of their favourite TV stars. Sure, the average age was 60+ years and some of the act was vomit-inducingly on the side of simpering, but there was no doubt that the audience were enthralled from the opening number.
Both Beck and Stenlake are stage and screen celebrities in their own right – Beck in particular taking the female lead in major musicals touring to Adelaide in the late 90s and early 2000s. Vocally, Beck is strong and she is an equally strong dancer. Stenlake banks on his looks a lot and brings an Aussie swagger to his performance.
The theme of this cabaret show was “love” and all it has to offer – the trials, the tribulations and the embarrassments. Unlike other cabaret acts in the festival though, there is little connection with the audience and the dialogue was heavily scripted and staged. There was surprisingly a lack of convincing chemistry between Beck and Stenlake who seemed to be going through the motions and tried desperately to remember lines and lyrics (unfortunately failing on a couple of occasions).
Some entertaining renditions of karaoke favourites included ‘Cherish’, ‘Love is in the Air’, ‘Tainted Love’, ‘Every Breath You Take’ and others. None of these pieces were particularly adapted for a cabaret setting and lacked intimacy, focusing on a concert feel.
It was obvious in the final number that the audience were gasping for a direct connection with the performers, enjoying their rendition of ‘In His Kiss’ with a nod to the various celebrities they have kissed as performers despite their marital status.
Overall, this is a great production for Morning Melodies audiences but lacked excitement or substance in the context of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.