By Julia Loipersberger
I have a confession that will make those of you who have heard Christa Hughes live before very jealous: she has played Adelaide twice in the last six months (heading over from the East Coast for the Adelaide International Guitar Festival) and I have been in the audience both times.
With her divine voice, the woman who appears to have done it all – art house cinema star, band member of the brilliantly original band Machine Gun Fellatio in the role of KK Juggy, burlesque performer, member of Circus Oz -turned up for a sold out show at the Spiegeltent wearing her trademark false eyelashes – and very little else.
A phenomenal blues and jazz singer, Hughes’ voice is amazing, and as somehow who has previously reviewed her work it is difficult to come up with original adjectives which I have not already rhapsodically used to describe her, such as ‘truly remarkable’, ‘sublime’, and ‘perfect’. ‘Beer Drinking Woman’ confirmed that above all else Hughes is a consummate entertainer, taking the audience – as promised – on a tour through the ecstatic pleasure and the despairing pain that frequently accompanies excessive alcohol consumption.
Ably accompanied on piano by Leonie Cohen, who kept the music simple so that it did not interfere with Hughes’ powerhouse voice, the show was exactly what you want in a cabaret – bawdy, hilarious, groan-inducing, and masterful entertainment . Long-time fans of Christa will be delighted to hear a number of her own compositions, such as ‘Beer Drinking Woman’ and ‘Pig Flu Blues’ as well as many pieces – including a Cold Chisel rendition – which Hughes has appropriated and made her own.
The only negative was that at times aspects of the show distracted from the performance. A section in the middle of the show where Hughes acted out various scenes from classic films in an homage to alcohol went for an overly long time, wasting precious minutes in which that voice could reverb through the theatre again. Similarly, for a show which really required the audience to lounge around in comfortable booths with a bottle – or four – of wine per table, the squished confines of the Spiegeltent were not really appropriate. But these are minor details when Hughes is on stage and there are drinks to be had.
Those who are prudish about alcohol – and other mind-altering pursuits – and are easily offended should probably not go to this show. But then again – it’s not like Hughes pretends to be anything other than a beer (and whiskey. And gin. And wine) drinking woman. And if you do go – you will have a bloody brilliant time. But then everyone who has heard her before already knows that.
Kryztoff Rating 4.5K
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