Billy Joel’s opening “A bottle of white, a bottle of red \ Perhaps a bottle of rosé instead” in Scenes from an Italian Restaurant notes the importance of variety. If you’re needing a change from stand-up at MICF 2017, comedic cabaret, These Things Take Wine by spirited performer Tash York will provide a welcome palette cleanser.
York has a few vintages under her belt now through touring this show as well as being part of musical comedy trio The Desperettes – also appearing at MICF. This offering shows the benefit of such experience and maturation time.
While the show is smooth, York was feeling a bit rough. With wild hair, smeared red lipstick and black-rimmed eyes, she took us on a musical ramble through a history of her vinous adventures and excesses. From her opening of Amy Winehouse’s Valerie onwards, our songstress showed a talent for modifying pop song lyrics to illustrate her exploits for comedic effect.
The set list ranged from Nancy Sinatra’s Summer Wine to Tina Turner’s Proud Mary as York poured out stories of her Queensland origins, an early boyfriend, and moving to Melbourne for work. Good amounts of laughter showed that the review night audience lapped up her original songs. Musical Theatre Boys explained Uni days where her needs were unmet by male students who were better at tap dancing and ballet than her.
The stories aren’t so well integrated with the music some of the time, but given the show’s quality, worrying about this too much is like marking down a good wine because of its label.
York and her pianist/comedic straight-man Jamie Burgess show musical flair as well as awareness of their venue. Rather than smash us in the face like a caricature sauvignon blanc, they use volume or the odd curse word for emphasis when appropriate in textured performances. Young performers in particular would do well to study the restraint on show here.
York is a supple performer, able to sound like a frustrated young woman or prowling temptress. Laughter showed that the audience got a kick out of the not so threatening (I know from experience!) instances of audience participation.
There’s a particular enjoyment that comes when you’re sick of drinking plonk and treat yourself to a good red. A warm glow rises in your chest as a smile expands across your face. I was surprised and pleased to find exactly that happening in These Things Take Wine. Just as its poster promises, this dolcetto of a show delivers some memorably messy humorous moments for close to a bargain-bin price. Cheers!
Tash York – These Things Take Wine
The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Performance: Tuesday 11 April 2017 – 5.30pm
Season continues to 23 April 2017
Information and Bookings: www.comedyfestival.com.au
Image: These Things Take Wine (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte