Cabaret Festival. Space Theatre. 15 Jun 2023
I don’t know much about Kate Bush, let alone performer Sarah-Louise Young, but I know a helluva good show when I see one! Research indicates Kate made it big in 1978 at the age of 19 with chart-topper Wuthering Heights. She was in the UK Singles Chart for four weeks and was the first female artist to achieve #1 with her own song! But it took until this year to see her inducted into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Sarah-Louise ran amuck through the oeuvre moving like a pixie on steroids. The show is a kaleidoscope of theatrical trickery with lights, costume, dance and audience participation all coming off with cracker timing. Really unbelievable. And the voice! You are nowhere without a semblance to Kate’s art pop dramatic soprano. An Evening… takes the tribute show to a whole new level because it’s not about impersonation; it really is a loving embrace.
Kate’s movements amply visible in her numerous videos on YouTube are eccentric and ripe for parody, but Sarah-Louise rendered a reverence that was slightly tongue-in-cheek. She is clearly starstruck by Kate and polled the audience on their fandom. Fans are collectively schooled as Fish People – there are so many reasons available for this bizarre appellation that it’s better left as a mystery.
Sarah-Louise gave a humourous quick lesson in Kate’s favourite moves while dressed in signature flowing apparel. She is constantly in motion and talking to the audience with many excursions round the cabaret tables. She fetched a couple of 37 years to slow dance while she sang, re-creating the video. Kate’s crazy dance moves are channeled with delightful dexterity.
For the final song of Wuthering Heights, Sarah-Louise simply let the audience sing nearly all of it, which they did joyously in celebration of the famous songstress. This was a noble act on Sarah-Louise’s part – to take yourself out of the picture and let each audience member relate to Kate in their own special way. Kate’s spirit in the room was already well conjured; contra to the title, it’s actually an evening with Kate Bush.
Sarah-Louise is the consummate cabaret performer, highly skilled in all its aspects – singing, movement, costume, performing and audience interaction. Did I mention the hair? She has brought this show from the UK for her first time in Australia. Hats off to director Russell Lucas who no doubt gave the green light to the complex theatrical elements.
If this isn’t the hit of the festival, I’d be very surprised. Double bravo!
When: 15 to 17 Jun 2023
Where: Space Theatre