A Company Of Strangers [FringeTIX]
Paul Capsis, Lady Carol, Le Gateau Chocolat, Martin Martini, Sveta Dobranoch @ The Spiegeltent
8:30pm, Sun 22 Feb 2009
Spiegeltent, eh? Cabaret, you reckon? Spot on: a bizarre mish-mash of characters – “strangers”, one and all – whose only other common link is thumping great voices.
Martin Martini opens with the first of his handful of songs about the underclasses, all of which demonstrate fantastic piano playing and rubbish – rubbish! – lyrical content. Le Gateau Chocolat has three songs and four costumes for the evening, and I’ve raved about his voice & audience manipulation before – he’s yet to disappoint. Lady Carol, a ukelele-playing Irish beauty, transcends the tempo of her strumming to growl, crow, stretch, and compress Creep (amongst others), Sveta Dobranoch’s voice soars as her bosom cleaves, and – despite the large chunk of the crowd who were obviously there to see him, Paul Capsis throws a lot of enthusiasm around… without actually managing to cause me to emote.
The initial buzz was that this was one of the hottest tickets of the pre-Fringe – but it’s hard to see why. That’s not to say that it’s bad – anything but. This is all wonderfully competent entertainment – but it’s not a breakout hit. We’ve seen it all before…
…except for Le Gateau Chocolat’s rendition of Ol’ Man River, which would have to be one of the most incredible things I’ve heard in years. Worth every cent of the $35 ticket price alone, it’s a highlight because he plays it straight… well, as straight as a large black man with sparkling red lipstick, bright blue eyeliner, and a matching toga can be, anyway.