Thursday, November 8, 2012

I'll Break My Own Heart

By Kylie Eastley

The name says it all. I'll Break My Own Heart is all about the torture and journey of love; the darkness, the disturbing and the beautiful. This is cabaret. It is sexy one hour degustation from Rose Grayson, who both devised and performed the show.

Dressed in fish net stockings, a corset and top hat, Ms Grayson welcomes the audience with Illusions a song written by Frederick Hollander. A good choice, as the subject matter, if you hadn't already guessed from the title of the show, is about love, lust, passion, hate and heartache. The trauma and wonder of love is conveyed in 19 songs and poems. There's a little storytelling, a little chatting with the punters, but mostly the audience experiences the range and beauty of Ms Grayson's voice.

While other songs such as Everybody's Fucking But Me is big and ballsy and more than a bit Barbara Streisand.

This is a show that requires and deserves an audience. Ms Grayson owns the stage. It was a shame then to see an audience of only around 16 attendees. Ms Grayson explodes onto the small stage; a presence almost too big for the little old Backspace Theatre behind the Theatre Royal. Her voice echoed between the empty seats and awkward pauses were created by a lack of audience, rather than an unsuccessful performance.

Intermingled with melancholic tunes by Tom Waits and Nick Cave were less familiar songs; but all worked effectively. I really enjoyed the original poems that Ms Grayson wrote including, Souvenirs, which talks of one woman's passion for collecting the body parts from her lovers. Yes, there is an element of the bunny boiler about this.

Ms Grayson is joined on stage by pianist and Music Director, Peter Dasent who plays beautifully. His music becomes part of the script; another character on stage that helps set the scene and fills the narrative.

The show has been structured well, with the big numbers intermingled with the lighter and sweeter songs. I liked both. There is enormous energy, sexiness and more than a touch of humour and optimism as demonstrated by the inclusion of Leiber and Stoller’s Is That All There Is?, towards the end of the show.

This one hour show would sit well within a festival program, such as last year’s Festival of Voices Voice Box program which placed performers in a cabaret style setting at Hobart’s City Hall. This would have suited Grayson as her voice and demeanour erupted out of the stage and the staging would have provided a more intimate and informal setting that would certainly have complimented the show. Such a dynamic performance requires the right environment to enable audiences to engage, participate and respond comfortably. Of course this is also helped by larger audiences.  

For those interested in experiencing a bit of cabaret, beautiful singing and gorgeous piano playing this is a show worth seeing.

I'll Break My Own Heart is on at the Backspace Theatre tonight and Saturday at 8.45pm and Sunday 2.45pm and 6.45pm.

1 comment:

What do you think?