Women In Voice: 20th Anniversary


Women In Voice

Judith Wright Centre, Red Chair & Annie Peterson

Judith Wright Centre

15 – 19 October 2013




Honouring 20 years of amazing female artists with a stunning array of distinctive voices.


The iconic music series Women In Voice comes to the Judith Wright Centre for the very first time! Cabaret, rock, soul, disco and pop will collide for a 20th birthday celebration like no other, featuring Carita Farrer Spencer, Annie Lee, Naomi Price, Alison St Ledger and Jac Stone.


Women in Voice is a phenomenon. A courageous concept showcasing talented female vocalists in an upfront, uncomplicated manner, resulting in one of the liveliest, funniest and longest-running series Brisbane has ever produced.


Annie plusCarita plus 

From humble beginnings, Women In Voice has come a long way, but it’s still a bit of a pot luck show, with an emcee who talks more than she sings this time (Alison St Ledger) and a line-up that doesn’t necessarily include your favourite styles of music, songs or singers. What the WIV series continues to do, after 20 years, is to support old and new female vocalists in Brisbane, providing a platform and a loyal following.


The epitome of the so-called “WIV Tragic”, St Ledger belts out the big numbers, including the Propellerheads and Shirley Bassey’s History Repeating, a lacklustre opening number, which she makes up for in the final emotional number; a stirring tribute to the WIVs we’ve lost – Chrissie Amphlett and Sue Dwyer. Over 20 years there have been 68 WIVs and St Ledger is one of the stalwarts. We’ve also seen Annie Lee – she of The Kransky Sisters – and Carita Farrar Spencer. These two seasoned performers bring their own brands of comedy to the stage and I adore them both. On opening night the audience seemed not quite as enamoured of Lee (she takes a bit of getting used to, like Flacko or The Birdman), but Farrar Spencer brought the house down with her Diva De Janeiro act, a hilarious drunken Diva performance, honed especially for us “Lisbon” folk. Farrar Spencer sure knows how to entertain a crowd! Her style is unique, and her comic timing impeccable.


Newbies, Jac Stone and Naomi Price hold their own, with Stone establishing a brand new set of followers the second she appeared on stage (there was an intake of breath near me and all around, whispers of “gorgeous girl!”), and a lovely, mysterious voice; simultaneously simple and age-old. This girl is a faery; an old soul who must have had previous lives in the clubs of Paris and New Orleans.


Price offers a different study of herself with an all-male-sung song set, having established herself as Queensland’s Christie Whelan long ago, but lately, with her sell-out Adele show. Jason Robert Brown’s I Could Be in Love With Someone Like You was a treat for JRB fans (I think there were three of us), and John Farnham’s Burn For You is the kind of new classic only Price can create…from out of thin air. This was completely unexpected and just beautiful. Get it on an album, girlfriend, quickly! Price brought an additional level of sophistication to the evening, purely by being the self-assured, super talented performer that she is.


I loved Lil Fi’s special guest appearance, complete with ukulele (the woman is just fantastic), but I was sorry there were no other WIV faves included in the line-up, though I spotted a couple more in the audience, among them Kacey Patrick, and I enjoyed the girls’ homage to Patrick’s extraordinary vocal bird calls.


The musicians who share the stage with the singers in this series are led by MD Stephen Russell, who is also Pianist, and Jamie Clark (Guitar), John Parker (Percussion) and Helen Russell (Double Bass) – they are superb, suiting every style.


Women In Voice: 20th Anniversary is completely sold out but when it comes around again, at least you know to book early and enjoy an eclectic mix of performances, showcasing some of Australia’s best female performers.



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