Any show that offers Old Brown Sherry upon entrance is already good in my books.
Fiona Ramsay and Tony Bentel perform in The Old and the Beautiful on 8 July 2015 at the National Arts Festival. Songs and spoken word giving a delicate and gritty reflection on the fabric that makes us human and vulnerable. (Photo: CuePix/ Amanda Horsfield)
The Old and the Beautiful is cabaret with a twist. Fiona Ramsay and Tony Bentel delight and titillate their audience in a relaxed and engaging question and answer style that takes care of any tension remaining after the Sherry.
Untraditionally for cabaret is the inclusion of poetry and a reading from a Sixties book of sex tips for women in addition to song. “No wonder I didn’t stay married,” Ramsay quips after reading out the extract.
The performance, contrary to the title, is fresh and even a bit risqué. While Bentel is busy on the piano, Ramsay brings out a dildo. She also recites an ode to marijuana, while smoking something that looked a bit irregular.
Her song about being stuck in traffic while trying to get to an audition is particularly relevant, and the audience emitts a dignified chuckle when she blames the dilemma on e-tolls.
The reading of the poem A Cat Named Sloopy is touching, as Ramsay and Bentel bring in their love of their own pets. “If you didn’t cry through that you have a cold heart,” Ramsay says.
Clearly veterans in the industry, Ramsay and Bentel master the routine. Bentel expertly plays the piano while looking at Ramsay, who takes on a number of personas.
The performance ends with a charming rendition of Maybe This Time, a personal favourite. Overall, it was highly enjoyable.
Cue student reporter
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