Anonymous Smiles

Songs to Make you Smile: Rafe and the well dressed with cabaret shenanigans directed by Hadley. Tuggeranong Arts Centre, Thurs 27 May, 2010
by Anon

The location was the Tuggeranong Arts Centre, in a small top-floor bar with tables, chairs and a cosy stage. I attended the opening night Thursday performance. The setting was intimate, and as the audience entered, there were strange characters roving the room – all decked out with whacky costumes sporting new york accents. The format mostly consisted of song-skit-song, but occasionally there was hilarity from the non-musician-performers who acted out skits during the songs themselves.

The “well dressed” band (trumpet, clarinet, double-bass, drums and keys) were highly accomplished, with Bec Taylor stunningly keeping everyone together even when Rafe’s characteristically charming looseness revealed his opening night nerves. The songs were a mixture of Rafe’s new and old material (I think) including a guest cameo from the one and only Drew Walky for a spot of Soctor Deuss – this was the first time I’ve heard Rafe perform a set since his return from overseas, and his new material was a happy addition to his existing catalogue – more light and amusing, tuneful observations on people and places. Tops.

The cabaret, directed by Adam Hadley and performed by an engaging and at-times side-splitting talented bunch of actors and performers, brought an amusing addition to the traditional gig set-up and was particularly fitting for the location and pitching of the show. The looseness of a first night performance was apparent on a few occasions, with occasional awkward pauses and unsure song endings – but this all added to the mystery and charm of the evening.

With my occasional tendency to despair at what I fear is a drought of art in the suburbs of Canberra, it was really encouraging to see a good show in an unusual but eminently suitable venue.

The summary: It made me smile. Quite a lot, actually.

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