Soprano opera singer, actress and acclaimed cabaret performer, she displayed her considerable talents to once again cast a spell on her Adelaide fans. Looking every bit the diva in a red sequined dress (the second choice, due to a wardrobe mishap) and accompanied by a classy band, the former La Clique member moved effortlessly between jazz standards, ’80s pop/rock mash-ups and rap, all with disarming humour and warmth.
Decadence opened with a delightful medley of jazz/rap, including Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good”, featuring humorous play with musical director and pianist Sam Keevers. A gorgeous version of Ella Fitzgerald’s “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” followed, accompanied by the saxophone. Sarah Vaughan’s “Whatever Lola Wants” was given a sultry tango beat with bass and drums.
McGregor kept audience members on the edge of their seats by switching from thumping medleys of her favourite ’80s numbers, to an emotional pure version of “My Funny Valentine” and a boogie-woogie blues reworking of The Prodigy’s “Firestarter”.
The comedic highlight of the night was a tribute to what has been named the world’s worst cover: Celine Dion and Anastacia’s version of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” (YouTube it) performed solo with an omnichord. The was closely followed by a lady rap mash-up featuring Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It”.
McGregor is the consummate cabaret performer – expressive, funny, with an almost unfair vocal range and purity of voice which can handle anything. Her breathtaking encore performance of Radiohead’s “Creep” was the vocal highlight and showcased her astonishing range, including a whistle register that would make Minnie Riperton blush.
Adelaide is blessed to have Ali McGregor as one of its Cabaret Festival artistic directors. Decadence adds to a great program.
Ali McGregor’s Decadence was performed for one night only as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, which continues until June 25.
See all InDaily’s Cabaret Festival stories and reviews here.