Amelia Ryan’s likeability is apparent before she even makes it to the stage. Fighting with the back cloths, she finally emerges from underneath the drapery, glass in hand, wrapped in a towel and wearing odd socks. Off to a cracking start.
She goes on to tell us how the show is made up from 100% true stories and very quickly reveals one of her family not-so-secrets. This is interspersed with a very cleverly re-lyriced version of What’s Going On?, and immediately the tone is established as an open-book cabaret show that’s funny and free.
Naturally it’s not long before she first calls an audience member to the stage for assistance. It’s clear she’s well practised at this, and while she doesn’t always get what she wants, she knows when she’s beaten and swiftly moves on rather than making a scene. Thankfully ours was quite an obliging crowd, though hilarity ensued when she unknowingly attempted to coerce a teenager on stage to help her reenact an anecdote from her days of being an exotic dancer. Luckily, he owned up and she moved on…
While many cabaret shows draw on the artist’s life story for creative inspiration, one does often wonder how much mileage that has, and what their next show might look like if this one is so self-effusive. A Storm in a D Cup is somewhat guilty of this, but Ryan points out how this show also aims to be educational for others in terms of how to avoid the “storms” she’s weathered. A bit thin, but pleasant all the same.
One of the most enjoyable moments was Ryan’s peculiar rendition of the Cell Block Tango from Chicago. For this she borrows three new audience members to keep rhythm for her, while she flaunts about sharing stories of former lovers, again, adapting lyrics cleverly to fit the song. Watching three slightly uncomfortable people trying not to be distracted while keeping rhythm was squirmishly enjoyable.
While Ryan’s storytelling and likeability were spot on and thoroughly engaging, at times I felt let down by her singing voice, which seemed to lack punch in the upper register. While closing number As We Stumble Along played to her strengths in personality, a huskier, more soulful approach to some of the songs I feel would have been more powerful.
Overall this show was heaps of fun. You’re never quite sure what’s going to happen next, but absolutely worth the ride.
Reviewer: Steve Griffin (Seen 9 August)
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