Adelaide Fringe 2012
Singer and musician Amy Abler plays a range of medleys and melodies on the piano and the accordion, interspersed with stories about her life. Showcasing wit and creating a fun atmosphere, Pianodivalicious is a show that is a must see for anyone that is fond of cabaret or jazz.
Beginning the show with a classical medley, Amy Abler, ‘the Diva’, then proceeded to play a range of musical styles on the piano and occasionally the accordion. In between songs she regaled the audience with autobiographical stories. The songs are a mixture of classical and modern, and many of them are mixed medleys. Abler has been performing shows around the world for eleven years, and it showed, as her notes were crisp and at the right pitch.
Some song highlights include a jazz version of Should I Stay or Should I Go?, Bette Davis Eyes played on the accordion, and a medley of Blackbird, I’m Like a Bird and Broken Wings. There were some amusing moments, such as an original composition, a ballad about ‘Bettie Mae Moocher’, and when the lyrics of Waltzing Matilda were mixed with the music of Chopin. Abler’s banter was witty and entertaining, and she was a friendly host, handing out feathers and encouraging singing along with the chorus of some songs. Her own voice was a lovely contralto. The venue of the Tuxedo Cat’s Red Room was appropriate, as the red velvet couches and curtains recalled a 1920s speakeasy.
Abler is a professional musician, having worked with the likes of Stephen Sondheim. Rather than going through the motions, she became animated whilst playing. In particular during a performance of Great Balls of Fire she managed to play the piano whilst facing backwards, which was quite a feat.
When speaking to the audience she made sweeping hand gestures, and made eye contact. Probably the only fault of the show was that even though she told a rather interesting story about being in a market in Istanbul, she didn’t share too many other stories about places she had visited.
Pianodivalicious is recommended for those that simply want to sit back and enjoy some quality music. I could recognise many of the classical pieces even if I couldn’t name them, and it was fascinating to see how well some songs could be blended together. Most of them were played in the style of jazz, classical, ballads or cabaret; however there was some country and rock thrown in there as well. It was a very pleasant evening, watching a musical virtuoso at work.