Come to the Cabaret – Sydney Fringe Festival 2011

 If cabaret is your thing, then this show is about as cabaret as cabaret gets.

 Sydney Fringe Festival 2011 Venue: Newtown Theatre Thursday, 15 September, 2011  Come To The CabaretIf cabaret is your thing, then this show is about as cabaret as cabaret gets. From the charismatic leading man to the beautiful and talented supporting ladies; from the new shabby-chic Newtown venue to the brilliant accompanist cranking out showtunes in the corner; from the musical theatre classics to the original re-imaginings of modern pop numbers – this show screams (or rather, belts) ‘Cabaret!’ louder than Liza in her final encore.
Brendan Hay explores the concept of the ‘muse’ behind the music, delving into diverse musical worlds, playing a number of different men inspired by muses. Hay is a wonderful showman who inhabits a range of characters with ease. He has an expressive voice, which is still developing, but mostly does the job.
He manages audience participation incredibly well, considering this show is his first ‘solo’ cabaret. He’s perfectly at ease interacting with the audience, taking them on his journey. An audience sing-along of a smoky jazz version of Kylie Minogue’s ‘Locomotion’ is a highlight. 
Halfway through the performance, Hay transforms onstage into Valere, his French aristocrat-inspired creation with full make-up, wig and spectacular period costume. Valere is a wonderful character – flamboyant, egotistical and absolutely compelling.
The multitalented Katie Giles, Shannon Reinhard, Sarah Hamad and Elizabeth Evans, support Hay as the muses, appearing and disappearing throughout the evening. Peter Rutherford accompanies Hay on piano with great vivacity and skill. There were a few sound problems early on in the night, but these should be ironed out through the season.
Hay has great taste in music and a real knack for structuring a cabaret. While there are a few elements that miss the mark, this show makes it clear that Hay is a performer who has a lot to give to the world of cabaret. 

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