ADELAIDE CABARET FESTIVAL - TINA DEL TWIST -GOLD CLASS
Tine del Twist. Photo by Stan Munro
Tina del Twist - Gold Class.
The Artspace. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. June 15 and 16 2017.
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
She swaggers onto the small
Artspace stage, an apparition of a faded Norma Desmond and a betranced Madame
Arcati, bottle in hand and wavering arms outsretched toward the mike stand. Country
clad , lean faced guitarist Stephen Weir sits silently by, with doleful eyes
ready for command. Through the haze of stupor the alter ego of Wes Snelling
croons the velvet sounds of Michael Buble’s Feeling
Good before reaching for another bottle at the piano. Tina and her
dexterous guitarist Twist stir up a cocktail mix of melancholy and
maudling musing. Maybe it’s just jet lag from her vast travels to "Tokyo and
then Japan and then Asia", or her memories of her time at Woodstock in 1969,
when she danced naked to the song of Jefferson Airplane.It’s an experience the forty-eight year old
Tina is unlikely to forget.
And so the evening goes on
through the alcoholic haze, inviting the audience to cry out We love you Tina and front row “Thomas” to scream Get off the stage you rancid f******whore. Snatches of songfrom the Great American Songbook are
interrupted to hurl insults at the lapdog Twist, stagger between the tables or
take another slug from the Coolibah flask during her reeling rendition of the real
Australian national anthem. In her version "billabong" is an icecream she tells
her audience while reclining on the floor..
The showslips by interspersed with Willy Nelson’s Roll me up and smoke me when I die and
Nat King Cole’s hauntingly sung Nature
Boy. Comedian and singer Snelling sings the light nihilistic with a touch
of decadent self-deprecation.Her show
runs slightly short of the advertised sixty minutes, but it has already played
out its gimmick of a besotted female impersonator. It’s fun for an audience that
enjoys the staggering, stumbling character, comical in her carelessness.
Snelling has a voice that could smooth starch and a talent to amuse, but a
sixty minute show can drag out the comedy. Her ten minute segment at Ali McGregor’s
wonderful Backstage Club allowed song and character to find the balance that
paid tribute to the talent. At Gold Class, there was too much bronze to dull
the real impact of this artist’s talent.
There is a tendency for some cabaret
artists to ply a character to carry the show. The risk is that the quest for comedy
may lead one from the discovery of a talent that needs no artifice. Witness the magic of Dianne Reeves or the
sheer vocal wizardry of Ali McGregor. But then it takes all types to make a
cabaret and Tina Del Twist is certain to twist one person’s fancy and turn