Johanna Allen opens Euromash with a Spanish/English mash-up of Katy Perry’s I kissed a girl. But this is no pop concert, Johanna’s interpretation of the song takes it to a tango dancing Spanish dancefloor. After the first number, Johanna welcomes us aboard Ferrarrato, Ferguson and Allen airlines for a 60-minute spin of Europe.
The premise of Euromash is the creation of new songs by mashing songs together. It is incredibly clever and the result is often more beautiful than the original. If you were making a compilation album, the songs mashed together would most likely not be the ones that would come to mind to follow one another. The creativity of this show is inspiring.
Michel Legrand’s Windmills of the Mind is mashed together with I will wait for you, originally sung by Connie Francis, another Michel Legrand’s composition. Allen’s version of Rosemary Clooney’s Mambo Italiano is completely different to any other you’ve heard. But to go from Mambo Italiano to a creepily slow Mack the Knife was quite a shock. Here Allen is darkly lit, taking on the role of the serial killer with her blood red gloves caressing the mic. Ferrarretto adds to the eeriness of it all with his slow, haunting playing of the saw. Thankfully we come back to life and liveliness with Allen’s interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s Dance me to the end of love. For our jaunt to francophonie, Johanna Allen gives us Brel’s Ne me quitte pas and a beautiful mash-up of Piaf’s Hymn of Love sung in both French and English.
Allen is not just any singer – she’s a classical trained soprano. Just as Johanna Allen is not just any singer, Euromash is not simply a musical performance. It is also musical theatre – Johanna Allen dances, acts and at times exaggerates the movement of her lips while singing to great comedic effect. Johanna Allen’s musical range is astounding but her talents for the various accents she convincingly uses throughout the show are also impressive: Italian, Spanish, Russian, French. Accompanying Johanna Allen are pianist and musical director, Mark Ferguson and on the violin, mandolin and saw (yes, saw), is newly minted Dr PHD in Music, Julian Ferrarretto.
In every classical soprano is a pop star waiting to break out or so Johanna Allen tells us before launching into a beautifully haunting version of Kylie’s Confide in Me. Madonna may be a pop icon of the 80s and 90s but Johanna Allen’s mashing together of Express Yourself, Borderline and La Isla Bonita took these songs from pop to an elevated sultry, beautiful timeless level even though Johanna Allen was performing them to fulfil her “pop princess dreams”.
Euromash is an ingenious show which will show you songs you know as you’ve never heard them before. Johanna Allen is an incredible performer and a delight to watch as are her musical accompanists Mark Ferguson and Julian Ferrarretto.
Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Fringe 2021.
Euromash’s Adelaide Fringe season has now finished. For other Adelaide Fringe 2021 shows, take a look at the official website here: www.adelaidefringe.com.au
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