My Sublime Shadow


My Sublime Shadow may have looked like a good idea on paper, with great music and provocative choreography in the mix, but alas it did not come together to form an impressive cabaret show.

Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre
Old Museum Building, Brisbane
My Sublime Shadow may have looked like a good idea on paper, with great music and provocative choreography in the mix, but alas it did not come together to form an impressive cabaret show.
Instead, I was able to admire the singing and arrangement genius of Emma Dean and Jacob Diefenback, and appreciate the movement of Jillian Geurts and Dale Thorburn, but was left disappointed the show had no worthy purpose other than to display these talents.
The concept of our shadows representing our dark side and the need to acknowledge and embrace them was flimsy. Reading director Lynne Bradley’s notes, the idea sounded substantial and deep enough to be explored, but the show didn’t effectively delve into the concept beyond a simple representation.
My fiancé and I agreed to be seated in the front at a table after being assured we would not be pulled up on stage, however we were warned we may experience a little whipped cream. Unluckily, this guarantee proved untrue, as my unsuspecting partner was brought up on stage by Thorburn, clothed in a dress and frilly knickers, and was straddled! He was a good sport, but take that as a warning to not believe anything you are told!
I was pleased to hear Dean’s amazing song 12 Years featured in the show. While it felt slightly recycled after seeing it in Zen Zen Zo’s The Tempest last year, I enjoyed it just as much the second time around. I could listen to her voice all day long. It truly is so beautiful and unique. Her other shining moment was performing another one of her originals, Stuck in the Mud. Diefenback’s incredibly self-obsessed and camp character was at times cringe-worthy, but he warmed the room with his beautiful rendition of Pearl Jam’s Jeremy and his part in Imogen Heap’s Hide and Seek. All songs were accompanied by piano and I was thrilled with all the music choices.
Jillian Geurts cannot be faulted when it comes to her aptitude as a physical performer. She embraces the movements whole heartedly and doesn’t hold back. Thorburn is also deserving of similar praise but I must admit I found him uncomfortable to watch – and it wasn’t because of the dress and knickers. His movement style and facial expressions unnerved me a little, but as a displeased shadow this was most likely his intention.
Costume design by Marysia Aves was fanciful and a strong component of the overall show.
Ben Hughes lighting was successful as always. His name is popping up frequently after his strengths were demonstrated in QTC’s Let the Sunshine earlier this year, and The Crucible and Toy Symphony last year. 
I encourage Bradley to bring back cabaret. It’s a performance style we don’t see much of in Brisbane. I can only hope the show’s background and theme will be more solid next time.

Season Closed 

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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