Bang Bang (TAM Presents)
The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent
September 18 – 23
Stage legend Rhonda Burchmore is an old school entertainer and “Bang Bang” is a good old fashioned good time from the moment she walks in the joint in a razzle dazzle of legs and leather to open with Shirley Bassey’s ‘Big Spender’. The show, which is billed as being a sassy foray into the First Lady of Australian musical theatre’s wild side features a range of delicious enticements, including sexy shenanigans from golden boy guest star Rob Mills’ energetic ‘Sex Bomb’ along with dancers Dayton Tavares and Hilton Denis (who is also appearing each night in “Life – The Show”). Plenty of familiar old songs fill the Spiegeltent over the show’s vivid but compact 70 minutes, evoking nostalgic joy in those of their era, even if only at recognition of their iconic introductions, as with Dead or Alive’s ‘’You Spin Me Round (like a Record)’.
The standout comes courtesy of Burchmore’s ‘Private Dancer’, not just in the soulful touch she brings to the Tina Turner’s comeback classic, but in its inverted take that sees her singing of stripped down dancer Caio Souza. Indeed, the song seems made for Burchmore’s vocal versatility in its ascent and constraint and, accordingly, she makes it a stunning number that easily serves the show’s highlight.
Despite such stiller numbers, there is a lot going in the show. All performers are given their chance to shine, from Claire Walters and Geoffrey Winter in duet, to the band’s 17-year-old guitarist in punchy instrumental break. There is a lot of sultry stuff though and Burchmore especially engages when the pace is toned down in numbers of ache and grit, such as in her ‘Nothing Compare to You’ Sinead O’Connor mashup with Miley Cyrus showcase of her vocal strength and control. And when she merges Cher’s ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ with Lana Del Ray’s ‘Young and Beautiful’ the result is an intimacy not always scene in Spiegeltent shows.
Visually, there are some interesting moments to complement the vibrant performances courtesy of quirky, but not always explicable, costumes, a mirror-balled spotlight and bubbles of delight. It’s a delicious, eclectic smorgasbord. And although its hasty ending falls a big flat, holistically, the show is satisfying in its entertaining range of numbers, especially when Burchmore and co give over to a swinging ‘In the Mood’ tap number.
Among sultry standards such as Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)’ and Lionel Ritchie’s ‘Hello’ there are less impressive playful numbers like Kylie Minogue ‘Speakerphone’ and Mousse T’s ‘Horny’, which bookend the show. “Bang Bang” may not be cutting edge in its numbers or moves, but it is comfortable in its throwback feel and there are enough highlights to make the show an enjoyable Brisfest outing because when it works, it is bang-on entertainment.
Photos c/o – Josh Cook