Queen of the Night (Little Black Dress Creatives)
Brisbane Powerhouse, Turbine Studio
As she saunters out to greet her audience with “you can call me your majesty”, Bethan Ellsmore establishes herself as the titular Queen of the Night. And from the moment she starts crooning Portishead’s ‘Glory Box’, it is clear that this self-declared regality is entirely befitting as soars to the song’s amazing vocal heights to make it her own.
“Queen of the Night” sees Ellsmore, along with her dashing backing band, taking audiences on quite the musical trip through all range of genres and themes as timeless tales of love and longing are weaved together with upbeat, clap-along numbers like The Strokes’ ‘Last Night’. Indeed, the show features a diverse array of songs as Ellsmore performs unique arrangements of arias, pop songs, power ballads and rock-n-roll classics.
An unexpected highlight comes from Queen’s ‘Killer Queen’, complete with violin solo from the multi-talented monach herself. Its inclusion serves to highlight the extent to which cabaret is so often all about the lyric and how well-known works can be turned inside out for dramatic effect. But beyond this, the eclecticism of the show’s song choices demonstrates her breathtaking range of vocal versatility. Ellsmore’s voice was not only naturally beautiful, but her technique is brilliant and the volume and power of her coloratura is something special. Indeed, one of the best things about seeing an Ellsmore show is observing how first-timers react when they hear the true magnificence of her voice. In “Queen of the Night”, this moment came during her rendition of a song to the mysterious goddess of the moon, from the Czech opera “Rusalka”, which showed that the musical beauty speaks beyond any language barrier.
Despite the aching heartbreak that serves as theme to some of its songs, “Queen of the Night” is far from a pity party. With some debauchery and a lot of wine, it is also a right royal good time, complete with tiaras, streamers, party poppers and a couple of spilled drinks. Ellsmore’s voice is a remarkable instrument and she plays it flawlessly. And for that reason alone, you should do yourself and favour and check her out. If you are lucky you might even get to experience multiple cadenzas.