An End to Dreaming is a “pop-cabaret-fairytale” from Brisbane’s most accomplished cabaret performers Emma Dean and Jake Diefenbach.
Entering the stage area through the candle-lit cabaret tables like a lost Hansel and Gretel, yet cloaked like Little Red Riding Hood, the gothic cabaret fairytale of the Tim Burton kind begins in darkness. The next sixty minutes takes us on a haunting journey through five stages: The Darkness, The Awareness, The Reckoning, The Healing, and finally, The Light. But don’t forget your breadcrumbs or you might just fall down the rabbit hole and get lost in the woods.
The character storybook themed cabaret, narrated and interspersed with songs, is a fresh look at the form of cabaret as it departs from the expected standup comedy and pathos patter, song, patter, song routine.
Our two storytellers, singers, and songwriters are both accomplished musicians with equally stunning vocals. Diefenbach with his almost androgynous tone and Dean with a voice that will transport anywhere she wills it.
The original musical arrangements are an ode to the minor chord and scary carnival music. It was strange, dark, disturbing, emotive, passionate, and beautiful. Yes, there is beauty in darkness – ask any goth.
Having seen Dean in Zen Zen Zo’s Cabaret last year, I was eager to see her in true cabaret mode, which she is so well known for. I did, however, have trepidation to see how the duo partner sharing her stage would measure up. I’m now embarrassed to say I had never seen Diefenbach perform before. Which neck of the woods has this talent been hiding in? His twinkling of the ivories are astounding and his voice sublime. His charming childlike quality in boy pants and braces along with his gob-smacking talent is the perfect compliment to Dean’s commanding presence. Thank you Emma Dean for bringing Jake Diefenbach into the light.
The audience was truly taken on a magical journey and the show achieved the ultimate theatrical experience in which the audience actually felt something and came away from the show somehow changed (even if it was a brief moment in time).
The simple, yet clever lighting added atmosphere to an otherwise bare stage, bar instruments in which the two would pas de deux between an upright piano and synthesized keyboard, a violin and a melodica (small keyboard played by blowing air through a mouthpiece) also made a cameo appearance. Some form of stage setting would have perhaps added to the experience, even if it was just one overbearing gnarled tree with dead branches overshadowing the stage, whether projected or painted would have sufficed.
I especially loved their comical encore number, which goes to show that even though Dean and Diefenbach do dark and twisty rather well, their talents also extends to witty, cheeky, and irreverent. It is no wonder this duo, now under the name of Geppetto, have been invited to perform at the New York Fringe Festival.
I would recommend seeing this dark delightful duo, after all, you are getting two stars for the price of one.
For more information or to book tickets visit: The Judith Wright Centre Website