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Rhonda Burchmore: Vinyl Viagra

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The fabulous Rhonda Burchmore turned back time in more ways than one on the opening of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.  Equally comfortable with Marlene Dietrich, Cher and Miley Cyrus, she tantalised the audience with songs of raw female sexuality and risqué jokes from another era.

Her voice is rich, deep and sultry, shifting with ease from ballad to jazz and disco.  But it was no surprise that the vocal highlight was Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black”.  Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer” and a slow-tempo, emotional version of Cher’s “Turn Back Time” also showcase the range and husky tones of her voice

Burchmore’s stage presence is stunning. She’s impossibly tall, with big hair; her famous tap-dancing legs alone are worth ignoring the onset of winter and venturing to the wonderful Cabaret Festival.

Vinyl Viagra is a delicious combination of tribute, parody and memoir, with some eye candy for everyone.  Ultimately, it is all about entertainment.  Burchmore channels great female artists – from Lady Gaga to Judy Garland, Bette Midler to Christina Aguilera – with her own considerable sensuality and humour.

Matt Frank’s band is tight, providing slick transitions between numbers – and they do disco well.  Special mention to the two male dancers who complement Burchmore’s power and presence with great style, flair and comedy, especially during “Big Spender”, “Barbie Girl” and “I Touch Myself”.

The outfits are excellent, changing Burchmore from diva to vamp in moments.  A mock dressing room provides intimate moments and a great segue to Sinead O’Conner’s “Nothing Compares to You”

Burchmore ends the show with a final rousing performance of Donna Summer’s epic disco anthem “Last Dance” – possibly one of the greatest songs of all time.  I’m a believer.

Rhonda Burchmore is performing Vinyl Viagra at the Dunstan Playhouse until June 8.

For more stories and reviews, see InDaily’s 2014 Adelaide Cabaret Festival hub.

 

 

 

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