CABARET
Cathedral Candlelight Cabaret
Various artists
St George’s Cathedral
REVIEW: WILLIAM YEOMAN

It was a great idea. Round up a few acts already in town for Fringe World, whack a piano in the middle of tables and chairs scattered throughout the candlelit space of one of Perth’s most iconic buildings, St George’s Cathedral.

Throw in some a cappella sacred music and church organs as a nod to the normally religious ambience, get veteran performer Max Kay to compere, make booze and tapas available throughout the evening and voila: Cathedral Candlelit Cabaret.

I have to ’fess up at the outset: I only stayed for half the three-hour length of a show which gave variety a new meaning. No reflection on the quality of the acts — it was just too damn hot.

The sound of punters fanning themselves with their programs at times during the evening threatened to drown out the music.

But what I did see I loved and the cathedral really should do this kind of thing more often.

Indeed, the relaxed, slightly chaotic atmosphere recalled how churches and cathedrals were often bustling meeting places for people from all walks of life including traders and troubadours.

I enjoyed young tenor Richard Symons crooning away with pianist Stewart Smith — the latter also opening proceedings with a rip-roaring account on the main organ of Bach’s famous Toccata in D minor.

The wonderful circus duo from Ireland, This Is What We Do For a Living, were also impressive, their combination of humorous banter, juggling, balancing and hula hooping strangely disconcerting yet satisfyingly cheeky in a cathedral nave.

The selection of medieval and Renaissance sacred and secular vocal music was sung with variable success by a young ensemble specially formed for this cabaret.

And yet that too worked a treat, fitting in with the looser, rough-around-the-edges fringe aesthetic.

My only regret was that I couldn’t hold out for the salsa.

The West Australian

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