Keep Up Your Standards
8:00pm, Sun 19 Mar 2000
Short Review: Ascendary
Erk, what a tough show to review. I like Robyn Archer a lot, I think she’s done great things for the last two Festivals as Director, but… I thought this performance, her swansong, was a little lacklustre.
Archer’s deep, smoky vocals front a 5-piece concert backing band, led by Paul Grabowsky. All musicians were great, and the collective artists all seem to love doing the show – they all seem to have fun, and there were numerous little jokes throughout the performance. However, the opening 3 or 4 songs were distinctly flat – mainly due to the lack of emotion in Archer’s vocals. This fault slowly evaporated over the course of the performance, with the last song of the evening being the most emotive.
Vocal styles – there were a few (Archer’s yodelling was quite amusing). Languages – there were also a few of them, but most (excluding the final song) suffered from over-enunciation. Archer’s voice was also a little variable: limited range & power through notes varied considerably.
At the end of the day, it is difficult to tell whether the raptuous applause rained upon the performers, and Archer in particular, was due to the performance, or Archer’s directorship of the past two Festivals. I tend to think the latter, which is warranted.
(As an aside, Archer came out at the end of the performance and threw her shoes and earrings into the crowd… she was lapping up the applause like a thirsty puppy!!)