Review: Sibling Revelry

As the Adelaide Cabaret Festival approached its finale for 2014, two highly anticipated stars (both of whom had individually dazzled Adelaide audiences in previous festivals), were preparing to join forces in what promised to be a Festival highlight.

Liz and Ann Callaway
Liz and Ann Callaway

Sisters Liz Callaway and Ann Hampton Callaway, in their show Sibling Revelry, highlight the double-edged sword that is family. With their similar musical upbringing, and their comparable life journeys, the delicate line between ‘rivalry and revelry is bound to be somewhat blurred. One’s successes, while celebrated, are inspiration for the other. The scene is set with an offstage teaser of ‘Anything You Can Do’ – it’s no wonder that the Callaway family is so damn talented.

Liz, of Broadway fame, has a marvelous musical theatre voice – her rendition of Meadowlark was sublime. Ann, a celebrated composer, has a more complex voice that is perfectly suited to jazz. ‘Her Rhythm in my Nursery Rhyme’ was lively and engaging, and her ‘My Buddy’ was simply beautiful.

The band (Alex Rybeck, Alana Dawes, Chris Neill) was exceptional, really bringing to life the music. The clever arrangement of ‘Happy Days are Here Again’ vs ‘Get Happy’ was musical highlight. The ‘Huge Medley’ was huge. Very clever. But probably too ‘huge’ to properly digest in one sitting. In fact, a number of the musical items stretched marginally too long for a truly engaging cabaret performance.

The individual numbers were strongest – these two are, after all, solo performers – but the combined ‘Brotherhood of Man’ certainly roused rapturous applause. The banter and sibling bickering were hilarious and the Nanny Theme topped off a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Liz Callaway and Ann Hampton Callaway are two very talented siblings. Sibling Revelry, a musical celebration of their lives and careers, is an engaging journey with some wonderful sibling banter and harmony. This show is a fine example of cabaret, and should not be missed!

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