Meow Meow’s Pandemonium made its Adelaide debut at Adelaide Cabaret Festival last night. Meow Meow’s Pandemonium was performed with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Buc, Mark Jones on piano, Alon Ilsar on drums, and Ben Hanlon on double bass at Her Majesty’s Theatre.
The show has been performed with various orchestras around the world including the London Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Sydney Symphony, and Melbourne Symphony orchestras. This was Adelaide’s turn to see the show, which was first performed in 2015 and has been updated continuously since.
“Just what sort of pandemonium can one expect from a Meow Meow show?”, you might ask. Without wanting to give too much away, it is carefully choreographed chaos of the best kind – false entrances, wardrobe mishaps and Meow Meow’s refrain of “I have to do everything myself” runs throughout the Meow Meow’s Pandemonium.
Adelaide audiences were treated to some familiar acts, for example Meow Meow’s version of Brel’s Ne Me Quitte Pas always has the audience in stitches as she directs men from the audience how to hold and touch her (only the hip or below the knee) as she sings.
Then there were songs that we knew but performed in versions we’d never heard before – I’d personally never heard the well-known song On Broadway in French. We were also treated to some newer songs written by Meow Meow herself, two together with Pink Martini’s Thomas Lauderdale from their new album Hotel Amour, another with Iain Grandage “Tear down the stars”. Another song Meow Meow says she was forced to write herself about the apocalypse.
Meow Meow’s style could perhaps be described as anarchic – interrupting songs because she doesn’t like that version – “no, let’s do the Central European one”, or because the audience members that she’s brought on stage aren’t doing what she wants them to. She is naughty and there is innuendo and even though Meow Meow crosses boundaries few others could, she does so without us feeling she’s gone too far.
Having to do everything herself, as she complains a few times throughout Meow Meow’s Pandemonium, includes using a portable smoke machine, providing her own roses for the audience to throw at her feet (not at my face!) and even for one number, her own spotlight. And when there’s silence and no trapeze when she asks “may I have the trapeze please”, Meow Meow launches (quite literally) into the audience crowd surfing to take us to interval. If there’s anyone who can crowd surf Adelaide’s Her Majesty’s Theatre or the Sydney Opera House and have no one rushing to make it stop, it’s Meow Meow.
Meow Meow doesn’t skip a beat moving between languages including Italian, German and French. Roby Facchinetti ‘s coronavirus anthem for Italy Rinascerò, Rinascerai is perhaps the most recent of the songs featured in Meow Meow’s Pandemonium. The set list comprised songs of a variety of styles, including her signature German Weill and Brechtian cabaret. Meow Meow’s almost bossa nova style (we used to have a congo line here in before times) of À quoi ça sert l’amour , written by Michel Emer, and sung by Édith Piaf and Théo Sarapo, is pure genius.
Also worthy of mention are Meow Meow’s costumes. Throughout Meow Meow’s Pandemonium we see her in all manners of dress from a corset and knickers, to a white slip, to a black corset with different skirts, which are perhaps more aptly described as scarves or shawls – they are long at the back with a front middle fastening and very short at the front showing off Meow Meow’s enviable legs. They dazzle in their varying hues of black, black and silver, and gold.
As always Meow Meow’s Pandemonium delivered an exceptionally delightful night out with plenty of surprises. The show wasn’t just Meow Meow’s though, she certainly gave room to showcase the beautiful, skilful performance of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
If you get the chance to see Meow Meow’s Pandemonium with an orchestra in your city or town, take it. There’s nothing quite like it.
Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
Unfortunately Meow Meow’s Pandemonium with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra was performed for one night only. Follow her on Facebook to find out about future performances. In the meantime, read our interview with her here and look at our other Adelaide Cabaret Festival content below.
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