FRINGE: Somewhere Under the Rainbow – Cabaret – The Big Slapple – 4K

The Jane Austen Argument (Tom Dickins and Jen Kingwell) has become a regular presence at the Adelaide Fringe, having taken out the Best Cabaret award in 2010 for their debut show, Where Was I?, and following that up last year with the hauntingly beautiful The Spaces Between. Their love of the Fringe has led them to choose it as the place to launch their first album, Somewhere Under the Rainbow.

This show is thus more of a concert than their previous offerings, with less banter between numbers, but provides a great opportunity to get to know a cross-section of their music. Naturally, a large number of tracks from the CD feature in the show, a few of which returning audience members may recognise from last year. There are also some older songs included, such as the ever-popular Bad Wine and Lemon Cake, and a divine cover of Samson by Regina Spektor.

This year, Dickins and Kingwell are joined on stage by a three piece band for several songs, providing the fuller sound present on the album. This is a great addition for some numbers, such as Maintain the Madness in which Dickins’ vocals soar over the rich sound of the band. However, it is less effective in others, with the singing somewhat drowned out and the emotion of the songs diminished. When this happens it is disappointing, as the beautiful harmonies created by the two singers are one of the most magical aspects of their music. Consequently, it is the songs which they perform sans-band which are the highlights of the show, particularly when accompanied by Kingwell on a baby grand piano.

It is the venue that is the major stumbling block however, with a lecture theatre at the conference centre not promoting the desired atmosphere. Despite valiant attempts to combat this through the liberal application of flowers and candles, it still lacks the intimacy and beauty the music deserves.

While not quite capturing the feeling of their last two Fringe appearances, the Jane Austen Argument provide a night of quality, funny and moving original music. New comers are sure to be drawn in by their charisma and their album is a great addition to the collection.

Kryztoff rating: 4K

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