The eighth annual instalment of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival sees the return of some acts, including acapella group Ginger and Tonic. I’d seen them share a competent segment with an all-male group of singers in 2015’s opening showcase. Given more time, and the stage to themselves in For Love or Money, this quartet of grrrls show that they’ve got more sass, snap, and variety than we might have realised.
The show’s title is accurate; our singers fill the hour with tales of their romantic attachments … which tend to have some overlap with nascent plans of starting businesses. There’s Oprah-devotee Jane with her treatment for low libido, beat-boxing Burzey’s novel approach to wedding planning, a particular form of insurance for the busy businesswoman from self-confessed “preying-mantis” Danni, and Stef’s innovations to take intimate apparel to the next level.
Whilst these ideas have – shall we say – a certain degree of novelty, there’s also a lot to like about how Ginger and Tonic tend to their core business. This is a well-rehearsed troupe with quality harmonies. In contrast to a number of shows, it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into staging. Through props and choreography in particular, we had the surprise of changing formations and visual humour.
Group members put their own slant on songs such as Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball, Meatloaf’s I Would Do Anything For Love, and I Don’t Need A Man by The Pussycat Dolls. These, combined with the act’s original compositions, showed us the characters’ different personalities, and conflict between these was often used to good comedic effect.
The content was a bit more risqué than I had expected based on my limited previous exposure to the group. As such, it might not appeal to a cabaret audience much more keen on Kurt Weill than Kanye West. Still, if you can handle a little erotic fantasy about reality tv, a certain amount of bad behaviour, some dubious business plans and a lot of quality vocals, For Love or Money lived up to its name. It’s a solid hour of entertainment that won some audience hearts and earned good applause and laughter.
Ginger and Tonic – For Love or Money
The Chapel – Chapel off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Performance: Thursday 22 June 2017 – 8.30p-m
Season continues to 25 June 2017
Information and Bookings: www.melbournecabaret.com
Image: Ginger and Tonic (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte