Anya is first seen waking from her grand piano. The band are clearing up the stage. The setting is a perfect venue for this act. The cabaret set-up & rows of seats on two sides, with a live bar behind, set the feel for being at a cabaret and combined with a simple but very effective technical set-up (well done to the lighting designers) the room at Assembly Checkpoint is transformed. It's not cramped, but it sings of intimacy.
This cabaret is not a variety act type cabaret that you often see. It is a presentation of story telling through movement and music. Maybe perceived as a one woman show; it's really not. The band are integral and each play a variety of roles to keep the performance moving along. They are actors in their own right. And incredibly talented musicians without a doubt. Whilst all three band members add a huge amount to the show, I couldn't help but be in awe of Bec Matthews on Percussion/drums/more! The beat to keep things going, the effects generated through great use of an electric drum pad, the intensity of the show determined by her pitch whether it's bass drums or high hats.
I can only describe the songs as inventive. They are cleverly composed, very well written, and delivered brilliantly - even when Anya is literally standing on her head! They include jokes, they observe society, and they consistently use a great combination of vocal qualities.
The performance not only includes clever and witty lyrics, but includes very clever physical comedy. She pulls the right expressions, engages individual and groups of audience members and delivers what I've coined as elegant slapstick. The choreography and delivery is seductive. The story delivered is clever and very relatable to everyone at different times. You connect with the performance, you get guided through with smooth transitions from song to engagement, to dance piece to a moment of high energy to times of slow, sexy, reflection.
Anya is an all round great performer. I don't think the show would be to everyone's taste, but if you can appreciate a decent combination of performance art, if you can accept a play on gender differences, and if you want a highly enjoyable hour then this will be for you.
The performance I was in was pleasingly busy, but not full. This show should be sold out every night.
For tickets and more information visit the Ed Fringe website.