Review: Lets Face the Music and Franz

Earnest & Wilde
C Royale – until August 27th
3 Stars (3 / 5)

A musical romp through the origins of the First World War is not your first thought for a Best Cabaret Award Winner, but that’s exactly what Erik Igelström and Ciadhra McGuire managed to achieve in Adelaide earlier on this year. It takes all sorts to make a fringe festival, and Earnest & Wilde: Let’s Face the Music (and Franz) certainly offer something out of the ordinary.

The two cheekily play off one another, highlighting the highs and lows of the story of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, reimagining pop songs as speakeasy satires to punctuate the tale. Some work better than others. Kicking off the night with a cabaret cover of Take Me Out by Scottish indie rock band Franz Ferdinand is excellent, a transcendent remaking of Donna Summer’s No More Tears, and a reimagination of the “6th most disliked video on YouTube” – Friday, by Rebecca Black – well, lets just say, the cover is far better than the original, it works really well. Igelström is a formidable pianist but some of the source material just makes for a bland cover however you slice it, and it seems some of the songs are selected more for a laugh than their quality. They provoke a chortle, but then sometimes you have to sit through the rest of the song long past its novelty. The piece would be lifted by shortening some of these pieces or replacing them with material specifically selected to give McGuire the opportunity to shine and show the full breadth of her talents and vocal range.

It’s an original piece. Historically informative, entertaining, and funny.