Lea DeLaria has been singing Jazz longer than her role in Orange is the New Black, but lucky for us the show has brought her to our attention!
As soon as the lights went down DeLaria came out swinging with all guns blazing ready to woo and wow us. It was obvious how excited she was to be in Adelaide which was not her first time telling us how we took a chance on her and how much love was in the room.
In fact – her exact words were “ADELAIDE I f****** love you!” Yes, there was plenty of love for her right back and from the start the crowd were cheering and wooing like she was a Rockstar. Well, the butch dyke jazz musician kind of rockstar.
Smacking us right in the face with the obvious – she’s queer and fiercely proud of it, it was clear this show was not going to be for the faint hearted. With visual instructions on how lesbians fist (according to DeLaria fisting isn’t just for the gays!) we knew that we were in for a ride and there was no turning back.
Having no holds barred on her political views, attitude or even any filter nobody knew what was going to come out of her mouth including DeLaria herself, often having the band and audience in hysterics. Her banter and jokes even at times shocked DeLaria herself.
Showcasing us to a softer (musical) side she crooned and jazzed us with many songs from her 2015 record House of David. We were treated to Bowie classics such as Fame, Space Oddity, Life on Mars, Starman and Let’s Dance in Delaria’s cool jazz style, and was in her element be-bopping and scatting like she was born to do it.
Accompanied by a three piece band consisting of three talented female musicians – Endea Owen on bass, Helen Sung on piano and Sylvia Cuenca on drums, they were all given the chance to shine having each performed solos throughout the night. These girls were so cool that when Delaria wasn’t singing you could see her filming their performances to upload on social media!
One of the highlights of the show was the The Merry Macs, The Cat Fell In The Well – a song about a pussy. You can just see where this is going. With each mention of the word pussy and then making sure the audience was included with singing the pussy chorus there were moments of sheer hilarity. As her good friend Sarah Bernhard said “only Lea Delaria can sing this song” and she’s the only one to get away with it.
Ending the night with a powerful performance of The Ballad of Sweeney Todd, then an encore of a jazzy and toe tapping version of Why Don’t You Do Right – one thing is for sure; her energy and fun is infectious. While she’s passionate with quick witted comedy and throwing lots of “f*cks” at every opportunity, it was a delight to hear her sing showing us such pure musical expression.
For me Jazz is where Lea Delaria shines the brightest. When she sings she commands your attention and you are mesmerised. When she smiles and laughs you can’t help but smile and laugh with her. When she dances you just want to get up and dance too. As she said, “I f****** love my life bitches!” and yes, we can see that, and we love her for it.
Lea DeLaria Live in Concert
Festival Theatre – Adelaide Cabaret Festival, King William Road, Adelaide
Performance: Monday 11 June 2018 – 7.30pm
Image: Lea DeLaria – photo by Claudio Raschella
Review: Anastasia Lambis – courtesy of All About Entertainment