Georgia with a G
Butterfly Club - Melbourne
Season Jan 28-Feb 1, 2015
Reviewed Thurs Jan 29, 2015 by Matthew Carey
It seems testament to a strong brand when you can hang other ideas or variations on it and it still stands strong - adding legitimacy to both the original and the derivative.
Liza With a Z must be in the same league as Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ and Sin City’s ‘What Happens in Vegas’. Not only did it establish Minnelli as a one word icon - think Cher & Madonna, but it spawned a template for probably hundreds of cabaret show titles, all seeking to lend their stars similar status and audience recognition.
Georgia with a G contains more than a passing reference to Minnelli, but the show’s star Georgia Darcy brings her own magnetic personality to the stage and establishes her place as a performer in her own right.
This is the show’s second season in Melbourne, playing at the Butterfly Club as part of the Midsumma Festival. Darcy plays a scene from her youth where her seven-year-old self she would spend early mornings listening to her mum’s records when the rest of the household was still asleep. As she learned and loved the songs she would play on repeat she would mimic Al Jolson, Neil Diamond and particularly Minnelli.
Recreating moments from the album, Georgia always infuses the songs with her own charm and personality. She describes her journey from being a schoolgirl unable to express her passionate crushes on (female) teachers through to giving herself permission to step outside her corporate career and reengage with the music and performing she loved so much as a youth.
Songs borrowed from the television special include “Yes”, “Say Liza (Liza with a Z)” and the Charles Aznavour penned “You’ve Let Yourself Go” which Darcy performs with a touching intimacy.
Her accompanist Simon Walters played superbly, providing solid rhythmic foundation and lyrical accompaniment as needed. Georgia proudly announced that the UK born Walters had received Australian citizenship earlier in the week on Australia Day.
Traditionally burlesque shows have a cast member called the stage kitty who’s role it is to clean up the stage between acts. Borrowing from this idea, ‘Cecile’ (the alter ego of Louise Lawson) provided some hilarious physical comedy as she tidied the stage during Georgia’s costume changes.
The musical highlights of the show are “La Vie en Rose” sung in French and Michel Legrand’s “I Will Wait for You”. The show’s greatest appeal is its genuine honesty. While not without showbiz glamour and clever staging (including a chair that almost steals the show) the heart of Georgia with a G is a story about a woman gaining the confidence to acknowledge her true passions and share them with the world.
Occasional pitch issues in her singing are far outweighed by Georgia’s sheer force of personality and the generous warmth she brings to the stage. Her recent hip replacement allows her to release her inner-hoofer and there is a great physicality to her performance. The show closed with a rousing rendition of “It Was a Good Time” - and it certainly was.
Georgia and Cecile (Louise) are already working on a follow up show “Life, the Universe…and Cupcakes” which promises more hilarious interaction between the two characters and the pair are touring “Georgia with a G” to the Avignon Festival Off (Fringe Festival) in July 2015.
AussieTheatre.comReviewed by: Karla Dondio on 30 January 2015
For someone who has spent her life having to say “Karla with a K”, I understand Georgia’s frustration with having to constantly spell out her name (especially since I also happen to know not one but two Jorjas with a J). Banal annoyances aside, the title of this show gives nothing away in terms of how much fun it is.
In her home town, Georgia Darcy is known as the singing shopper. And seeing her on stage, it’s hard to believe that this confident performer had a late epiphany at 40 realising there was more to life than the corporate arena. Georgia is a natural storyteller and, watching her perform, it’s obvious just how much she’s enjoying her creative renaissance. Her affable and generous presence makes her simply a joy to watch.
Georgia weaves delightful tales about her life with popular cabaret tunes. I say delightful because, even when Georgia reveals painful episodes such as self-harming and an eating disorder, there’s always humour and a sense of triumph underpinning the revelation. Her rendition of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” as an ode to her schoolgirl crush on a French school teacher is truly mesmerising.
Look this show isn’t without its flaws. The narrative is a bit disjointed and songs aren’t always delivered on pitch. But its flaws are easily forgiven because the show is genuinely funny and has a gigantic heart. The latter is demonstrated when Georgia tells us that when her girlfriend, Louise, proposed to her, Louise promised she would always take responsibility for her own happiness. Just about the best relationship vows I think I’ve ever heard. Cementing a creative partnership, Louise also joins Georgia on stage in a role as Cecile the French maid. Louise is an absolute natural at slap stick comedy and is a wonderful accompaniment to this show.