17
Jun
13

It’s Raining Me & Julie, Madly, Deeply – Tom Sharah and Sarah-Louise Young shine at The Noosa Long Weekend Festival!

It’s Raining Me & Julie, Madly, Deeply

The Noosa Long Weekend Festival

The J Theatre

Sunday 16th June 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward 

 

This was the most extraordinary double bill! And it worked!

 

As I’d said to Festival Director, Ian Mackellar, after the show, I’d been wondering how a Julie Andrews tribute show (it’s so much more than that!), could follow up a spunky original cabaret. As it turned out, the programming was perfect for a number of reasons.

 

We’ve seen some cautious programming over the years, and on the strength of some of his previous cautious gambles paying off – for example, our Erotique, which enjoyed an extended season at Noosa Arts Theatre in 2012 – our Festival Director is able to make increasingly bolder decisions. And audiences love it!

 

It’s Raining Me

Tom Sharah

 

2013 Noosa Long Weekend Festival MACQUARIE © 2013 Barry Alsop Photographer Eyes Wide Open IMAGES

The first act belonged to relative newcomer to the cabaret scene, Tom Sharah, who you might recognise from his debut at The Noosa Long Weekend in 2010 (Que Sera, Sharah), or from his stint on Ten’s brilliantly conceived but strangely unpopular Priscilla, Queen of the Desert inspired reality television talent show I Will Survive, which serves as the fodder for this show, based on his experiences over three and a half months spent in the Australian outback, with the other contestants – “the boys” – on the silver bus. Sharah didn’t win, he was runner-up, and like so many second place getters, he’s mapped out a path that will take him ahead of the rest.

 

Suffice to say; when I use the term, “relative newcomer”, I use it loosely. Sharah won the Sydney Cabaret Showcase in 2009 (see last year’s winner of the Australian Cabaret Showcase, Bradley McCaw, on Sunday night at berardo’s), and premiered his one-man show Que Sera, Sharah at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, which led to engagements at Sydney Mardi Gras, Melbourneʼs Midsumma Festival and the Noosa Long Weekend Festival, as well as three sell-out Sydney seasons.

 

Sharah regales us with many amusing anecdotes during the show, including a hilarious chicken run tale — picture the lovely looking Sharah in heels and a wig chasing and diving for chickens in a coop – surprisingly (or not) the segment didn’t air. The personal stories help to contextualise the song choices and demonstrate Sharah’s ability to connect with his audience. It’s quite an intimate atmosphere, despite the generous space in The J, because Sharah invites us in and chats effortlessly with us, as if we were sitting at his breakfast table.

 

2013 Noosa Long Weekend Festival MACQUARIE © 2013 Barry Alsop Photographer Eyes Wide Open IMAGES

I loved so many of the songs but my favourite number, and the real start to the show (the third song in) was Let Me Be Your Star from SMASH! The lyric seemed to sum up everything he’d told us in the opening patter and poignantly reminded us that those with the drive and passion in this industry will usually get what they want! In case we missed that message, Sharah belted us over the head with it in an absolutely spectacular rendition of Here I Stand, from the film Camp. The audience adored The Facebook Song and a sassy mash-up of Sweet Transvestite and Natural Woman.

 

I have to mention that Sharah has a younger brother, Oscar, who is also stupidly talented and cute to boot! A beautiful arrangement of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours indicated that Sharah may need to quit inviting his brother to join him onstage, as the audience responded very generously to his singing and guitar playing! (The response is also an indication of Noosa Long Weekend audiences, expecting a top night of entertainment and getting it in abundance!).

 

From the eccentric child who used a cricket bat given to him by his father as a microphone, to the eccentric adult, who can think of nothing better than landing the role of Frank N Furter in John Frost’s upcoming production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (“It’s on my bucket list!”), It’s Raining Me is a fabulously funny and entertaining show. Sharah has a way to go in terms of total confidence, but the stage persona is larger than life and the voice is superior.  He’s a born entertainer.

 

 

2013 Noosa Long Weekend Festival MACQUARIE © 2013 Barry Alsop Photographer Eyes Wide Open IMAGESAND YOU CAN TAKE HIM HOME

 

 


Remember to pick up the EP after the show, have Sharah sign it and get your photos for social media.

 

 

With an extensive, easy vocal range, and a flamboyant style all his own, Sharah will do much more than survive; he’s a star on the rise. Look out for this show and go see him shine when you get the chance.

 

Julie, Madly, Deeply

Sarah-Louise Young

International cabaret artist Sarah-Louise Young has been named one of Time Out Londonʼs Top 10 Cabaret Acts. She performed extensively in London and New York, and sold out her critically acclaimed solo shows at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Noosa Long Weekend Festival (do you remember? She played seven characters!), as well as in Sydney and Melbourne. Widely known in the UK, her original songs and unique character comedy have earned her awards and critical acclaim from Edinburgh to Berlin.

 

In 2011 Sarah-Louise joined the legendary Fascinating Aida, making her debut with them at the Edinburgh Fringe and touring nationally before a West End run. She is also a member of the award winning Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, appearing with them in Edinburgh and the West End and on BBC Radio. All this is in addition to extensive UK television credits, and theatre work that includes plays at the Royal Exchange and National Theatre, as well as national and international tours.

 

2013 Noosa Long Weekend Festival MACQUARIE © 2013 Barry Alsop Photographer Eyes Wide Open IMAGESJulie, Madly, Deeply showcases her diverse range of skills and challenges audiences to look at Julie Andrews in a different light.

 

I only knew Sarah’s stellar cabaret performances from the YouTube footage recorded at Jim Caruso’s Cast Party, but her new show demonstrates an uncanny ability to put a string of brilliant ideas together in an entertaining, and moving way to create a show unlike any other.

 

Loved and adored by millions around the globe, Dame Julie Andrews is a genuine legend of entertainment. But does Mary Poppins ever long to let her hair down at the end of a hard day? Does Maria Von Trapp ever wish she was called sexy instead of saccharine? In this loving and affectionate pastiche, Miss Squeaky-Clean finally comes clean.

 

Everybody’s favourite Julie Andrews songs are seamlessly intertwined with stories and anecdotes from Andrewsʼ own life, as well as a selection of witty and insightful elaborations. What emerges is a delightful and mischievous love letter to a true show business survivor.

 

From wrangling child actors in Salzburg, to going topless on film; from seeing Audrey Hepburn steal her role in My Fair Lady, to hearing Christopher Plummer say that working with her was “like being hit over the head with a Hallmark Card” – Julie Madly Deeply gives audiences the chance to hear ʻJulieʼ explain how she copes with the constant pressure of having to be practically perfect in every way.

 

2013 Noosa Long Weekend Festival MACQUARIE © 2013 Barry Alsop Photographer Eyes Wide Open IMAGES

The mimicry is delightful and the comedy razor-sharp. Self-confidence and improvisational skills are put to the test when the various characters along the way start to select their own accents… Sarah-Louise laughs and tells us gleefully (something like), “Before the show I put all the accents in a bag and told the characters to GRAB ONE!” What might be perceived in anyone else’s performance as a careless or under-rehearsed slip-up comes across convincingly as an endearing tactic to get past a slightly awkward moment. And a couple of quick, sweet jibes at the audience, including, “You didn’t get the Marni Nixon reference so you won’t get this one” only serve to bring us closer to the artist and the character. A less accomplished performer would have made a right, royal mess of anything of the sort. Clever girl.

 

Most impressive is the way Sarah-Louise manages to manipulate us, at first wooing us and gently gaining our trust, before pushing us over the edge and beyond an emotional response at which we were teetering…it’s delicious. It’s the kind of theatricality that makes Sam and I turn to each other and go, “Phoar!”. The dark moments come as complete surprises – just a couple, perfectly placed and timed – because we already felt like we knew Julie. And now we’re not so sure. But we still LOVE Julie. Even though we now feel the need to take a step back. Just as when a star throws a phone at the Concierge wall, or lashes out at the paps… The momentary shock is perhaps replaced by a deeper understanding of anyone who seems destined to live out his or her life in the spotlight.

 

This performance, for The Noosa Long Weekend Festival, was Sarah-Louise Young’s WORLD PREMIERE, the slickest world premiere I’ve ever seen. This is a show – and a stunning performer – ready for the world stage.

 

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1 Response to “It’s Raining Me & Julie, Madly, Deeply – Tom Sharah and Sarah-Louise Young shine at The Noosa Long Weekend Festival!”


  1. 1 jerry
    June 18, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    A True UK star! No surprise that she wowed you down under!.


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