When artists become “award-winning”, audience expectation is raised, so when buying a ticket to see that artist perform, the expectation is that that artist will perform at a level above those who were not “Award-winning”. Michael Griffiths won a Helpmann Award for his cabaret show “Cole”. Amelia Ryan won the 2012 Your Theatrics International Cabaret Festival.
Therefore, legitimate award winners, but you would never have guessed from their lackadaisical performances in Livvy & Pete: The Songs of Olivia Newton John and Peter Allen in The Fortuna Spiegeltent.
The show itself proved to be a poorly written, poorly rehearsed and poorly performed hour of songs, performed in a way that surely would have embarrassed the two artists whose reputations had been appropriated to attract audiences.
Any expectations that the songs would be well-sung were quickly dashed by performances so perfunctory and uninvolving that only occasionally were there glimpses of how good the show could/should have been. Instead the performers seem more interested in exhorting the audience to sing along, rather than earning their participation with well-honed interpretations of the songs it had come to hear.
Far too much time was wasted on cringe-worthy audience participation, and on chasing cheap laughs, with the performance so ill-prepared that there was a distinct impression that the performers had misjudged not only audience expectation, but also the venue, by night is presenting world-class acts in Blanc de Blanc and which supported them with superb lighting and sound which was squandered on the slip-shod performances.
“Award-winning” they may be, but it proved a very dispiriting experience watching two very experienced cabaret artists demean themselves with performances so far below the standard expected of artists of their reputation.
Livvy & Pete: The Songs of Olivia Newton John and Peter Allen
The Fortuna Spiegeltent – Canberra Theatre Centre Forecourt, London Circuit, Canberra
Performance: Saturday 5 May 2018
Image: Michael Griffiths and Amelia Ryan in Livvy & Pete – photo by Claudio Raschella
Review: Bill Stephens OAM