Adelaideans love it when locals do them proud (think Xavier Samuel, the Hilltop Hoods, etc) and if Johanna Allen’s sold-out performances at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is anything to go by, it seems one of our favourite musical theatre stars has been welcomed home with open arms.
In the intimate setting of the Artspace, Allen is joined by musical director/pianist Nigel Ubrihien, as well as violinist Belinda Gehlert, cellist, Hilary Kleinig, bassist, Timothy Bowen and drummer, Damien Eldridge providing an immediate recognition that music is the centrepiece of this show. It’s thrilling to have such a rich musical sound supporting an intimate cabaret show.
[pull_left]Allen’s versatility is particularly evident, easily switching from comedic and cheeky to controlled, classical[/pull_left]
The production is as promise – a mixture of music, all favourites of Allen’s, from Blondie’s ‘Call Me’ to Cindi Lauper’s ‘True Colours’ and everything in between. Allen’s versatility is particularly evident, easily switching from comedic and cheeky to controlled, classical. The rendition of Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ is particularly beautiful, demonstrating Allen’s strong classical training.
Equally enjoyable and intriguing are the various re-arrangements of standards (a collaboration between Allen and Ubrihien) which keep your attention well into this 80 minute show. A particular highlight is Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed a Girl’ in Spanish… “cherry chapstick” has never been so sexy!
Overall, it’s a joy to have our Adelaide girl back in town (if only for a brief few days) to re-affirm the reasons we are so proud. Allen is a classy entertainer in her own right who can easily compete with the broadway superstars visiting the Festival, capturing a love for her mixtape of music tastes.