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Review - Women in Voice 2016: A lot of magic

Women in Voice 2016

Presented by Judith Wright Centre and WIV Presents

The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts

Fortitude Valley


Season: until Saturday, November 12

It’s amazing to think that music has been so ubiquitous across all cultures for such a long time. It begs questions about its evolution, purpose, and meaning. But it can’t be denied that music has a very powerful effect on humans, drawing countless emotional and physical responses during a single musical experience.

So when you gather an audience into a room with five songstresses doing what they do best on stage, it’s nothing short of a miracle. Music is powerful tool and when wielded in the right way, something magical occurs.

Women in Voice definitely had a lot of magic to it on opening night. When these

divas strutted their stuff on stage they had the audience eating out of the palms of their hands, captivated at times and moved at others.

Women in Voice is a cabaret series featuring, you guessed it, women. Having been around a while across decades and finding homes in various venues, each year has just kept on producing nights of pure entertainment.

I was a ‘WIV’ first timer and had little knowledge of what to expect. From the moment the MC, Judy Hainsworth arrived on stage I had a little more of a notion of what was in store for the evening.

The line-up is quite small, which gave each performer ample time to demonstrate their mettle and produce, at times, show-stopping performances interspersed with comedy supplied by the MC.

The first act, Alicia Cush, a Women in Voice newcomer and all round performer was a great way to warm up the audience and introduce the night to them. Her voice was sultry, pure and drew you in from the first note. Her songs were an eclectic mix featuring styles such as country and jazz and even some world music. As a multi-instrumentalist, Cush was able to draw on these skills and include some extra musical flair to her show. Her accordion act was quite impressive in its simplicity and jazz flute, impressive.

The second act for the night was Leah Cotterell a soulful singer with a personality to match. On top of being a performer, this diva is also completing a doctorate in the field of music. She incorporated this knowledge into her show and imparted some of her wisdom along with some intense and moving songs.

The last one in her set even had the audience singing along. There was a bit of a sad note on the night as Sahara Beck, another Women in Voice first timer, was unable to perform due to illness. Bethan Ellsmore was then called on to sing in her stead last minute. One third of the Babushka Cabaret, this songstress did a splendid job filling in the role of a WIV. Her voice was captivating and unique and tugged on the heart strings of the audience as she sang some jazzy numbers. With her Malibu sunset hair and rockabilly style she made an impressive sight.

Judy Hainsworth, meanwhile, was fulfilling her role as MC brilliantly. Her comedic interjections had the audience laughing, accompanied by memes and other pictures in a similar vein projected on the screen behind her.

Her voice too, was on par with the rest of the singers and demonstrated her skills, especially with the musical theatre numbers. Her Jason Robert Brown was pretty tight and neat. The final act in this two and a half hour performance was Alison St Ledger. With a name as cool as her personality, she brought the audience to the wonderful land of Boogie and had members of the audience jumping up and dancing in the corners of the Judith Wright. From a dazzling disco ball to a costume change half-way through St Ledger provided a very entertaining and memorable part of the overall night.

The final two numbers were both rousing and poignant respectively and really capped off an entertaining night with each of the performers consistently bringing energy and charisma to the overall performance.

This production is definitely worth catching again next year, at their new venue – the Brisbane Powerhouse as I have no doubt that it will be bigger and better than ever. This 2016 show runs until .

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