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Cabaret review: Lady Sings it Better, Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)

Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Picture: Phil Wilkinson

  • by Martin Gray
 

Men do talk some rubbish. We sing some rubbish too, but when six sassy Sydney sirens sing those songs back to us, it makes for comic cabaret gold.

RATING: * * * *

Lady Sings it Better comprises Maeve, Chandra, Libby, Belinda, Monique and Jenny. Together they make beautiful, crazy music. When they’re not putting a feminist spin on the likes of Fat Bottomed Girls, they’re making a “totally gratuitous” seven-minute tribute to Michael Jackson, complete with Thriller zombie dancing.

They make light of their footwork, but truth be told, it ain’t half bad – they make pleasant shapes and keep time nicely.

What they’re brilliant at, though, is singing. Whether it’s one woman taking the lead or several harmonising, the result is never less than stunning. And while the songs are filtered through a feminist lens, it’s with a wry eye rather than an angry stare.

So it is that Peter Andre’s Mysterious Girl, which “really speaks to what it means to be a woman”, gets even dafter via a holiday camp-meets-the- Andrews Sisters arrangement. Billy Joel’s You’re More Than a Woman To Me, on the other hand, seems more beautiful than ever thanks to the soaring harmonies. Jessie’s Girl (Rick Springfield) morphs into a tender song of longing from the lesbian kid at school, while the macho nonsense of AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long is thoroughly neutered when delivered in a lovely soprano.

Number after number, the ladies nail it, tackling the blatant misogyny and unthinking silliness of male-centred pop songs with talent and charm. And they’re backed to the hilt by the superb trio comprising Joe, Lauren and Hannah, the smiliest musicians I’ve seen on the Fringe.

Which just about sums up Lady Sings it Better – they’re sunshine from Australia, a tonic to remove the stench of any bad day. And if they make you question song lyrics occasionally, so much the better.

Until 27 August. Today 6:45pm.

 

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