CABARET FESTIVAL: You, Me & the Bloody Sea – Space Theatre – 4K

SMA Kryztoff banner May 13 100dpi2013 Cab LogoThere are countless traditional songs about the sea and its role in lost loves and lost lives. Mumpsimus (Cameron Goodall, Quincy Grant and Andy Packer), have put an interesting spin on this traditional theme in creating You, Me & the Bloody Sea by telling the story of four blokes who work on an oil rig in 1975, rather than the customary sailors of old.

Fronted by Goodall, a band made up of some well-known faces (Harley Gray, David Heinrich, Emma Luker and Grant) wend their way through the tale, as the men leave their homes and their women for a fortnight’s hard work in the middle of nowhere. Between songs, Goodall provides poetic narration, as we are introduced to what drives each of the characters and are presented with the foreboding information that not all will make it back home. While this ties the songs together nicely and creates a journey for the characters, it isn’t quite enough to make you feel any emotional connection to them. All five performers are impressive with regards to their musicality, several regularly switching between a number of musical instruments and displaying great talent on each. The accompanying projected animation by Andy Ellis is suitably evocative and compliments the songs well.

The music is heavily based in the folk tradition and ranges from mournful ballads through to intense, modern rock numbers. The songs are all engaging, however there is space for some editing and at twenty minutes over the advertised running time, the creative team may want to think about removing a few of the shorter songs which, while excellent, are not really necessary to progress the story or enhance the atmosphere. There are numerous compositional references to other songs smattered throughout the original works, most notably the beautiful ode to the evils of money which harks back to the haunting strains of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.  While Goodall provides lead vocals for the majority of songs and shows off a great range and vocal quality, Luker steps in to give a pleasing voice to the women left behind waiting for their men to come home. Their voices intertwine splendidly in the enchanting Return to Me.

While it still needs to be cut back and tightened in terms of the narrative and set list, the actual words, music and performances are all top quality and it’s a highly enjoyable show.

Kryztoff Rating: 4K

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