little red relief

The IsoLate Late Show (The Little Red Company)

March 20

For the performing arts sector, the enormity of the coronavirus is unparalleled. Yet in response to the devastation, members of the creative community who should be on stage, found a way to do exactly that last Friday night, #kindasorta, in a star-studded cabaret show. It took just 48 hours of these unprecedented and unpredictable times for the little red company to put together a banger of an online show live from a living room. With an audience of over 45 000 viewers, the very first episode of “The IsoLate Late Show” raised over $58,000 for the Actors and Entertainers Benevolent Fund… an effort very deserving of all-around air-fives.

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Leading the charge to keep the community together, our quick-witted emcee of sorts Naomi Price bursts out with ‘Rolling in the Deep’. Adele is clearly in Price’s comfort zone, as those who have seen her “Rumour Has It” show know, with the English singer-songwriter’s work featuring throughout, even within memorable mashup with the Spice Girls. There is hint, also to Price’s “Lady Beatle” cabaret show, which enjoyed a smash return season at La Boite Theatre last year, when members of Queensland Chamber Orchestra, Camerata, slow things down with a tribute to ‘all the lonely people’ in The Fab Four’s ‘Eleanor Rigby’, ultimately proving that the sweetest songs do not always need vocal accompaniment.

The show offers lots of opportunities to sing, dance (not too close) and bop along to feel good songs like ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ and ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ from ‘old mate’ Luke Kennedy. His ‘The Best’ is far from the footy anthem many may know; layered with lingering light touches, it is infused with sincerity in support of its essentially positive message. However, as those who have had privilege of seeing his “From Johnny to Jack” cabaret show are aware, no Luke Kennedy set is complete without some Farnsie, and with some sensational string accompaniment courtesy of Camerata’s musicians, his soulful ‘Help’ both satisfies this expectation and whets the appetite for an encore of sorts share of the anthemic “The Voice”, which, as always, showcases his phenomenal, powerhouse vocals.

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The who’s who of Brisbane cabaret performers continues with Tom Oliver, who mixes things up with a toilet-paper worthy performance that takes us from Bee Gee’s high-note hand washing reminder to country and western, and even reggae realisations in response to audience requests, before summing up the show’s sentiment in ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’. Things slow down with Lai Utovou and Rachel Everett-Jones‘ share of Simon & Garfunkel’s sensitive signature song, ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ in humble reminder that comfort for those in need is closer than they might think.

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Lai Utovou himself shares a smooth sway-along BB King song and, in her Little Red Company debut, Irena Lysiuk showcases her velvety voice as she gives the audience a laid back but still vulnerable take of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’, leading to singalong of its iconic testament to turbulent times of thunder. It is one of many wonderful moments of appreciated connection in a world where isolating is so foreign. Indeed, the new concept shows how even from your front room, audience involvement can be achieved, through call and response or even just through the online stream of comments.

For members of a crippled industry to come together in such a hopeful fashion is certainly a testament to their spirit. And, not only this, but they are planning to do it all over again this Friday March 27th. Hear them and help them via live stream on the company’s Facebook page, if you have ever enjoyed a Little Red Company show or performance of one of these artists, or even just a show in general. In the meantime you can continue to enjoy the full first show, knowing that donations are still welcome at www.theisolatelateshow.com. Every dollar raised goes directly to creative workers who desperately need the relief of financial assistance at this time, especially freelancers, sole traders and casual employees.

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