Katie Noonan Love-Song-Circus is a scintillating ode to the strength and endurance of the first female convicts in Australia. With performances that are searing and flawless, this is one show not to be missed at Spiegeltent.
What I love about this show is that it’s not a nuanced attempt to explore the forgotten lives of female convicts. Much work and research behind the scenes informs this collaborative works, which is demonstrated in its depth of character and ability to pack a punch.
Katie Noonan (vocals and piano) is an extraordinary vocalist. Her powerful vocals are entrancing and lend an ethereal mood to this works. The thing I didn’t know about Noonan is that she’s also an accomplished pianist and composer. Noonan has created an enchanting repertoire of songs for this show that is telling of the drudgery and gender solidarity experienced by convict women. It’s a proud elegy that unravels the stories of the women that came before us. Steve Newcomb, as arranger and composer, has obviously been integral to the quality of sound on the night. (Be sure to refer to your program for the wonderful lyrics to the songs performed.)
This collaboration with a special guest star circus troupe directed by Yaron Lifschitz and Ben Knapton provides this show with another dimension again. Performers Melissa Knowles, Alice Muntz and Billie Wilson-Coffey use circus acts to loosely translate the songs into physical stories, which is captivating. The choreographed movements echo the emotional landscapes of each song while being awe-inspiring just for the performers’ skills alone. Beautifully directed and exquisitely executed.
And kudos to the band that pulls this all together so expertly – Zoe Hauptmann on double bass, Benjamin Hauptmann on guitars, mandolin and banjo, and the Gossamer String Quartet (Monica Curro, Sarah Curro, Daniel Curro and Caleb Wright).