Review: Something Old, Something New

by Jane

This review originally appeared on www.australianstage.com.au

Ali McGregor, as always, is resplendent in her choice of shoes and songs. Returning to the Adelaide Fringe, this year she has left the late night crowd and has come to the Spiegeltent (or “a tent in the middle of a field in Adelaide”, as she puts it) for two weekend afternoon shows. Under the light of the afternoon sun, Something Old, Something New is a lot more tame and straight-laced than theMcGregor which has visited us in past years.

But perhaps that is for the best, as McGregor tells us Adelaide is the only city where she has gotten complaints, going so far as to send her letters complaining about the comedians and burlesque; one in particular exclaiming, “that comedian Adam Hills is clearly taking cocaine!” 

It is these stories that McGregor peppers and paints her show with which lifts it; after an hour in her presence you not only have been given some wonderful songs, some with intriguing twists, but you feel like you have gotten to know a bit more of herself.

This weekend, we are being introduced to a slightly discombobulated, but all the more endearing, McGregor, as she has come to Adelaide with her nine-month-old daughter suffering from a cold. McGregor says she knows it will all be over and fine within a week, but “try telling her [daughter] that”, who is thus acting like it is the end of the world.

With the support of a wonderfully jazzy three-piece Adelaide band under the musical direction of talented pianistMatthew Carey, McGregor gets the chance to sing some songs she has done before in Adelaide, some new ones, and she leads on to expand the expression to include something blue.

We are treated to songs given the “McGregor Pizzazz” (“No, no, that’s not a real thing,” she adds, perhaps a little embarrassed for uttering it in the first place), from Madonna’s San Pedro to Britney Spears’ Oops, I Did It Again, to popular standards Bye Bye Blues and The Man I Love.

McGregor’s richly colourful soprano silkily wraps over the jazzy renditions of these songs, filling the day lit Spiegeltent with the light of her voice, and the humour and vocal tricks that comes with it. A delightful way to spend an afternoon.

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