CABARET FESTIVAL: My Vagabond Boat – Banquet Room – 3.5K

Three highly talented Australian cabaret artists, Rowan Witt, Gillian Cosgriff and Nigel Ubrihien, have come together with fellow writer Stephen Anderson, under the direction of Andrew Ross, to bring the world premiere of My Vagabond Boat, to Adelaide audiences, this Cabaret Festival.

Opening with a delightful mash-up of songs relating to “rocking”, the scene is set for an exploration of the music of great composers that have found themselves, or their loved ones, displaced from their country and forced to find a new home across the seas. There is also reflection on current attitudes to those who now do the same; all with a bit of cheeky fun thrown in, of course.

The musicality of the piece cannot be faulted. Each of the three leads have wonderful voices, which blend to create very pleasing harmonies. The inclusion of violin accompaniment (Vanessa Tammetta) is haunting and adds the requisite folksy-maritime feel to the music.

However, the show does not yet feel like it has reached its potential as a whole. There is very little introduction to many of the songs and the audience can only guess at their relevance to the theme. How, for example, do songs about telephone calls and putting party hats on cats, while delightfully entertaining, fit into the greater context of the performance?

The vignettes of letters written by the lyricists featured, is a nice touch to give background to some of the pieces, but more of this was needed. The result is a show that seems somewhat disjointed, though not enough so for it to seem intentional. Further inclusion of back stories and banter around the history of these pieces and the people who wrote them, would help to link them together and make the whole experience more cohesive. As an hour of amusing songs, it’s a winner, but further work is needed to develop it into a complete cabaret experience.

Kryztoff rating: 3.5K

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