Divas are forever
By Margaret Wieringa
The Las Vegas showroom was dark. The band was ready. Then Shirley Bassey walked onstage, greeted the crowd like old friends, and a night of musical magic commenced. In truth, it wasn’t actually Vegas, and it wasn’t actually Shirley Bassey, but it sure felt like it was.
Our Shirley for the night was Danielle Matthews, a diva in a magnificently sparkly red dress. Her wit and banter was perfectly timed, but it was when she sang that she took my breath away. What a voice!
In Where Do I Begin?, writer Matthew Robinson matched stories of Bassey’s life with many of her classic songs. Telling of the loss of her daughter led into the tragic “If You Go Away”, a rendition that had both Matthews and the audience in tears. And whilst the songs were amazing, I felt there could have been even more of the story of her life.
The musicians for the evening were the Footscray-Yarraville City Band, led by band musical director Phillipa Edwards and musical director Adam Przewlocki. The band were tight throughout, but it was like a fire was lit when “History Repeating” started. Bam! When I could draw my eyes away from Ms. Matthews, I saw a group of musicians who could match the power of the singer without overwhelming her. There were also lots of lovely little moments where band members had solos. It was a shame that their big moment was overshadowed by the powerful front lady, but the layers created only added to the overall fabulousness of the performance.
Waiting in anticipation for an encore, the band played and the lights flashed. A quick note about this – lights onto the audience can be awful. Especially in a small venue with quite bright, blinding lights… Luckily Bassey/Matthews returned, resplendent in another, magnificent red dress with a fabulous boa and stunning jewelry. By this stage, I was getting terribly concerned that, somehow, “Goldfinger” was going to be missed. Thank goodness, no.
If there is any chance you can get to this show, do. And keep the name Danielle Matthews in mind; surely, she has greatness ahead of her.
Manilla Street Productions presents Where Do I Begin? – The Voice of Shirley Bassey
Venue: Chapel off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Dates: 23-24, 30-31 March, 8pm
Price: $45 /$40 Conc
Tickets: (03) 8290 7000(03) 8290 7000(03) 8290 7000(03) 8290 7000 or www.chapeloffchapel.com.au