I’m sure that Kate Ceberano could ask just about any current artist to Meet Me in the Middle of the Adelaide Festival Theatre stage and they would gladly oblige.
Forget traditional musical and theatrical couplings, Ceberano’s vision and understanding of the cabaret form is unparalleled. As far as the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is concerned, everything she touches turns to gold.
Combining with Teddy Tahu Rhodes for one show only, Meet Me in the Middle is yet another highlight of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Ceberano, Tahu Rhodes, the Adelaide Art Orchestra, Voices of Transition and special guest Craig McLachlan produce something incredibly special, something unique, and something that engages the audience for each and every second of the 90-minute performance.
The musical might of Teddy Tahu Rhodes is formidable. Every single time he opens his mouth (to sing, not dialogue) the audience burst into spontaneous applause. Allow him to sing ‘Toreador’ from Carmen and the sell out audience at the Adelaide Festival Theatre will go wild. His rendition of ‘Stars’ from Les Misérables makes you yearn for a recasting of the movie, and his version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ is mournfully beautiful.
Aside from his vocal mastery, Tahu Rhodes is clearly not comfortable in the cabaret form. With a propensity to gravitate towards sitting in the corner, Ceberano was forced to utilise of all of her theatrical wiles to coax the occasionally awkward Teddy into the spotlight. It must be noted that this is not a weakness of Meet Me in the Middle and is instead a major (and occasionally hilarious) contributing factor in its success and charm.
Lets be honest, Kate Ceberano is one of a kind. She is (literally) the boss, and has the ability to make the 2000 strong audience feel engaged and valued. Her improvisation ability is a great strength, and her go-with-the-flow attitude is remarkable. Audience interaction, as well as banter with Tahu Rhodes and conductor, Vanessa Scammell, is vital to the movement of Meet Me in the Middle.
Her voice, as we all know, is wonderful. Her relaxed vocal styling in ‘Fever-come-Habanera’ is a particular highlight (she can read the lyrics from a fan, whatever, she’s Kate Ceberano!) and Adelaide audiences delighted in her interpretations of each and every number.
Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Kate Ceberano, the cabaret odd couple, have combined in Meet Me in the Middle to produce an absolute gem. Honestly, I can’t wait to see what visionary creations are in store for next year. Get excited Adelaide!