Imagine, if you will, a love-child of Barbara Streisand and Amy Winehouse… give her some curves, a beehive hair-do and a cheeky glint in her eye and you have the powerhouse character of Molly Pope.
Accompanied by Kenny Mellman, Pope gives the audience insight to a tawdry world of showbiz in New York from the bright, hopeful optimism of a new arrival to the jaded, drug-addled, fading star. While the story is pretty common for a Cabaret Festival (it seems are a lot of out-of-work actors in this festival), it is Pope’s song choices and her unique alto sound that really captivates.
A boozy, husky version of ‘You’ve Gotta Pick-a-Pocket or Two’ (from the musical Oliver!) and a jilted lover’s heartbreaking version of the Cardigan’s ‘Lovefool’ along with an array of retro hits somehow link the delusions of fame and a “movie-star life” and showcase Pope’s voice and comedic stylings. If anything, this production could do with more dialogue with the audience. It feels a little disconnected as if we haven’t quite been let in on the joke.
There is an element of aloofness to Pope’s performance, which although it suits the character it does not give the audience any opportunity to sympathise, losing the intimacy of cabaret.
Overall, this quirky production had all the brass of New York on the tiny stage, bursting at the seams in the Artspace in Adelaide.