Ich Bin Ein Belinda (Belinda Hanne Reid)
Studio Theatre and Café
One performer, many characters…. It is a common cabaret concept explored this time in a five-woman (and one-man), one-woman show. But rather than separate characters, the personalities are all part of the one identity, for they all come from within performer Belinda Hanne Reid. So when we audiences are welcomed to the cabaret inside her head, it is an appropriate greeting to open the one-woman show. Fitting too it then appears is the show’s cumbersome name “Ich Bin Ein Belinda” (I am one Belinda).
Firstly we are introduced to the repressed, romantic, pearl-wearing Bel, who wants the kind of love that’s worthy of song key changes. In simultaneous compliment and contrast to her, are a drunken, hanky-panky, hedonistic, pleasure-seeking friend and the ‘fat one’ waiting to break out. There’s also the raunchy ‘sometimes friend’ who takes care of practical tasks like taking telemarketer phone calls and can wield a lethal fork, and the misogynistic man who lives darts and driving fast, and is not afraid of spiders. Certainly they are not all entirely likeable, but they can all sing.
From classics like ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ and ‘It’s a Man’s World’, to a wonderful stripped-back mashup of Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ and Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Closer’, Reid is both passionate and poignant, and never-faltering in voice. Characterisation is clear, with altered voice and mannerisms enhanced by the use of simple props to establish the different parts of herself. Dialogue is filled with that easy, predictable type of humour that includes Tasmanian jokes, Tony Abbot quips and sexist stereotypes, but the show doesn’t take itself too seriously, even including an audience participation game of Belinda Says.
Although it would be nice to see some of its snippets more fleshed out, particularly in transition, “Ich Bin Ein Belinda” is an enjoyable trip to inside the head of a talented performer. With bathrobes, handcuffs and donuts, it takes audiences to the oddest of places, but in doing so, it never strays from good fun in its reminder that everyone is a balance of their parts.