Season continues to March 11
Amy Bodassian is a HOT performer. This lady has everything to be an absolutely amazing cabaret artist – she writes compelling spoken word as well as original songs that are delivered with a genuinely beautiful and enchanting voice.
Her show explores the myriad of ways she has exhibited herself. It is vulnerable and genuine, funny and irreverent.
The streets of Adelaide – including a triangulated relationship between Amy, vodka and our local strip joint Crazy Horse at a time of “deep self-loathing and interesting clothing” – are a regular feature of Amy’s shows. We are lucky that she keeps coming back to share her craft with us.
It seems to me that Amy is lingering on the verge of being a very serious cabaret talent, but there is something in the way. As her title suggests, while she is comfortable exhibiting herself, I think she is less sure of what to make of her audience and it creates a hitch.
She says she is “a junky for applause” but contradictorily takes the British comedian Daniel Kitson approach to applause – that is, there is none. Audience members may take it upon themselves to clap, but when they do they are going out on a limb, alone and unsupported. She solicits “some enthusiasm” for the band during one song and she displayed some reluctant acceptance of applause at the end, but these moments are uncomfortable – and I don’t think purposefully so.
For cabaret, the audience is important; there is no fourth wall, no pretence of performance for its own sake. That’s not to say performers should be all love and gratitude towards their audience. Amy reminded me a lot of the brilliant cabaret artists Meow Meow and Tommy Bradson, both of whom play with their audiences and delight in making them squirm rather than gushing over them. They still acknowledge the audience has a role and take responsibility for directing and guiding them though.
Watching Exhibit Amy reminded me of a blog post by Amanda Palmer about the importance of acknowledging audiences and bugger me if it isn’t called “Amy, Take a Bow” (though a reference to Amy Winehouse). The relevant part is towards the end of the entry. Palmer writes:
…if you don’t bow, if you don’t look out there and just give a wink, you break the connection. they need you, the crowd. they need to know that you feel them and you’re with them. and when it’s over, if they love you, and they’re cheering, they want to know that their gratitude has hit you and is moving through you…and that you’re giving it back to them, that you’re grateful in return. if you lose track of them, this whole thing doesn’t work. they need to SEE you SEEING them. there. it’s a two way street. that’s why you bow. get it?
Amy has the all the necessaries at her disposal. I found her totally entertaining and inspirational (it’s always a sign when I take notes for my own sake). She’s willing to spill a lot about herself and share in a really bold way. Now, it’s time to acknowledge that she’s not just tipping that suitcase out, but she’s tipping it out in front of a crowd. Time to take a bow.
I wish I’d had the courage to applaud with complete abandon, whether she liked it or not.
Reviewed by Libby King
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