REVIEW: Between the Cracks with YANA ALANA

Simply scintillating

By Kate Boston Smith

Yana Alana’s much anticipated new show Between the Cracks for this year’s Melbourne Cabaret Festival grabs you by the soul and cradles you deep in her blue-clad bosom for the best part of an hour.

The diva within the diva is Sarah Ward: a woman who has a wicked smile with a wit you could set your watch to, and whose delectable use of language is only surpassed by her tremendous voice.

Yana Alana

Self proclaimed ‘feather-ruffler’, Yana Alana bares all and is unafraid to speak her mind about the failings of others and society around her.  She has the uncanny knack of twisting all of her ego foibles around, to the point where you would apologize to her, should she step on your toe in one of her many sojourns into her adoring audience.

An entirely original show, Yana’s fantastical poetry, vocal power and dominance of the room has you on the edge of your seat and soaking up every precious moment.  For it can be in the blink of a heavily fake-lashed eyelid that Yana will spin the show in a new direction, and can possibly and suddenly be sitting in your lap.

“Not a role model, but a model with rolls” – this is not a show for the faint-hearted.  Reading from her personally penned self-help book, Yana slaps you in the face with the realities of her world as an underappreciated performance artist/ writer/songstress and of course model citizen.  Songs such as ‘Box me In’ and ‘Some of the Queerest people I know are Straight” highlight our obsession with classification and how this passion for exclusion can cut us off from understanding one another more deeply.

As with most of Yana Alana’s shows, some of the favourite moments are those unscripted when things come slightly off the track.  An accidental breast in an unsuspecting face or microphone failure do not curtail this seasoned performer, but merely add to the internal rage that we so love to see played out before us.

Her spontaneous and pre-determined comedy moments and meltdowns are both hilarious and colourful, highlighting Ward’s impeccable understanding of timing and the beauty of self-deprecation.

With incredible direction by Annie Davey and a prolific support team, Between the Cracks could easily be lifted from our beloved 45downstairs and placed in the cabaret heart of New York or Berlin and received with respect and admiration without missing a beat.

If you are looking for a show to inspire and delight, or to show off to your friends your edgy taste in art, then Yana Alana’s Between the Cracks is the show for you.

Venue: 45downstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Dates: 3 -7 July 2013

Times: 9.30pm Wed – Sat, 5.30pm Sun

Tickets: Full $35, Conc $30, Group 8+ $30