The ‘Queen of Cabaret’ (Ed Fest Mag 2018) and Adelaide Fringe’s ‘Best Emerging Artist’ Laurie Black, has returned to the VAULT Festival with her new set ‘Space Cadette’.
Laurie Black certainly has a bit of a task on her hands. Branded as a full-scale one-woman musical experience whereby she takes her audience to the moon… well that certainly takes a lot of work to put into one-hour long set. Not to mention the fact that she’s been taking multiple showers to remove her emerald-green alien skin all week.
Performing at nearly 11pm at night, I couldn’t help but get the feeling she was expecting a far boozier crowd to play with and thus make her job a breeze. This crowd (myself included) was on the more sober side and often didn’t recognise the intertextual references, which Black had littered her set with a bit too reliantly. She did give her audience a bit of a pause after each reference, in anticipation that they would cackle in recognition; which felt a bit too forced at times and ruined the flow of the show. She also carried this technique through her musical numbers, which again made the flow a bit unbalanced and dull.
Her songs did carry numerous ideas and thoughts, but it wasn’t long before I noticed that there wasn’t actually any variation of tone, notes or textures within them. Again, maybe if I wasn’t sober that wouldn’t be problematic; but for a ‘Cabaret musical’ I did think it was a bit vapid. It became predictable before we were even halfway through. For someone of her experience, I did expect the performer to adapt to her audience, but that became a bit of a dream as she continued through her rehearsed set. I wonder if a bit more direction could have shifted this approach.
All in all, VAULT Festival is where you find something a little more unconventional, where artists are still learning their craft in a safe space. Give Black a few more projects to experiment with and I wonder what she could do next.
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