Adelaide Cabaret Festival: Kate Leigh – The Worst Woman in Sydney 

ACF Libby O’Donovan stars in Kate Leigh: The Worst Woman in Sydney - photo by Claudio RaschellaLibby O’Donovan is what cabaret is all about and presents this almost one woman show about the life and times of Kate Leigh, Sydney purveyor of grog, women and drugs in the 1900’s. The show is the tragic story of Kate Leigh – our first female gang leader. This story was featured originally in the Underbelly ‘Razor’ series on Channel 9 in 2011.

Libby weaves together song and narration that left the author feeling that Leigh did what she had to do becoming the poster girl for what her criminal education taught her. The songs were great and Libby’s diction and emotion really gave the audience an insight into Australian life in the 1900’s.

The rivalry portrayed between Kate and Tilly Devine with a guest appearance from Beccy Cole was a highlight, but it is the voice and commitment by Libby that makes the story work. The background video screen gave the audience a look at the real people that feature and bind the story together.

Libby’s detailed narrative set up each song with perfection and included titles such as; Snowing and my favourite, Not the worst woman in Sydney. Libby knows her craft so well and the audience were with her from the outset. Not only does she perform this just over 1 hour show, but she also penned the songs and script.

Flawless vocals and a brilliant Adelaide band featuring piano, bass and trumpet completed this unmistakable tragedy of the life and times of Kate Leigh.

Kate Leigh: The Worst Woman in Sydney
Space Theatre – Adelaide Festival Theatre, King William Road, Adelaide
Performance: Sunday 17 June 2018

Image: Libby O’Donovan stars in Kate Leigh: The Worst Woman in Sydney – photo by Claudio Raschella

Review: Stephen Foenander – courtesy of All About Entertainment Adelaide