Reviewed by: The Clothesline
Review by Adrian Miller | 19 February 2024

[CABARET ~ Music ~ SA] 

Mezzanine at Mezzanine at Plant 4 Bowden, Sun 18 Feb, 2024. 

I would have happily gone to see a concert of Alexandra Frost singing jazz or blues songs, but this show offers a lot more. Through story and song, it tells her own story, not of broken relationships or a troubled childhood, but interestingly the story of her ongoing relationship with her own voice!

Alex starts by giving us the context for the show – how many of us get a shock when we first hear our voice on a recording – say a tape recording, a phone message or even a studio recording? For her the critical aspect of her voice is that it is unusually deep. This means she is occasionally mistaken for a man when speaking on the phone – and at least once when out shopping! Each passage of spoken word is followed up with a song, so the appropriate one here is Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.

There is the Lola moment, when she is asked at an open mic night if she really was once a man – which of course leads her to break into a rousing chorus of Lola by The Kinks. Her first musical experiences were singing in a choir where she was always required to sing the bass parts rather than the melody, and she has the audience laughing as she demonstrates what it is like to hear a song without the actual melody. It is only when she discovered jazz and blues that she came to really appreciate her singing voice.

Some well-known songs are included by artists such as Nina Simone and Edith Piaf, and mention of her childhood nickname of Blossom leads to a rendition of Blossom Dearie’s Blossom’s Blues. There are also some less familiar songs, but she ends with a fabulous performance of Nature Boy.

Jazz pianist Ed Heddle holds it all together, occasionally reminding Alex that she’s missed a bit or jumped too far ahead in the script, but it’s the first performance this time around so such things are allowable and even make the show feel real.

Mezzanine at Plant 4 Bowden is an attractive place to see a cabaret show, and they are trialling a number of shows this Fringe for the first time. They need to be encouraged to continue with shows like this!