pondering independent musical theatre and a quick review of Cruisin’ with Cass

no live arts for me tonight, i”m afraid…

BUT! I did catch a great little show down at Paul Peacock’s Underground Cabaret last night. It was a one-night stand, really — a one-off show written by and starring Cassandra Kotchie with the help of Tyler Jones and Phoebe Jackson, called Cruisin’ with Cass.
Here’s the run-down:

“Cassandra Kotchie is back home in Perth after nine months at sea…and she needs to vent.

In Cruisin’ with Cass, a combination cabaret/therapy session, Cassandra brings you on board a six-star luxury liner and into the deteriorating psyche of a full-time cruise ship singer. With honesty and good humour, she details the highs and lows of an experience that has left her richer, wiser and just a little crazy…

Assisted by Phoebe Jackson and Tyler Jones, Cassandra shares stories of adventure, romance and self-discovery, interspersed with songs she now knows exceptionally well and possibly would never like to hear again…”

This was a little gem of a cabaret that was funny and bright, and outstandingly polished for something that was thrown together in two weeks. I can’t even say that I’m surprised at the short length of development, though, because these are three really gifted performers. They make it look so easy, and given the kind of talent we’re talking about, it just might have been THAT EASY.
I don’t know “Cassie, Cassie, Cassie — can I call you Cassie?” at all, but I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Jackson and Jones for quite some time, and they NEVER disappoint. They are consummate professionals, and it’s really encouraging that Paul Peacock can offer an alternative venue for Perth’s performers of this calibre, who might not get as many opportunities to be on the main stages around the city as they truly should. 
Perth independent and professional arenas seem to shy away from musicals at the moment, and it seems like the only sphere musical theatre is maintaining a solid foothold is in the community theatre sector. It’s fantastic that Paul seems keen to offer both small-scale musicals and cabarets, so that MT performers have a place to go in between the big gigs that might materialise once in a while for them in this town. 
Now, I’m not a *huge* fan of musicals, but I do recognise that Perth could do more for its MT performers, OR that they could do more for themselves. I think it would be great if more MT people would do the same thing that the independents in straight theatre are doing – devising their own works, putting on frequent small-to-medium-scale musicals, along the same vein as Tyler Jones and Rob Woods’s Falling to the Top that was such a success at this years Fringe World, and James Marzec and John McPherson’s Lawyers and Other Communicable Diseases, which had a great run at the Subiaco Arts Centre recently. And of course not to forget Stephen Lee and Rhoda Lopez’s Madame Piaf, which is on now. That’s 3 in a span of about a year and a half. Not bad, but not as good an average as the straight theatre folks. 
Okay, so maybe it’s more work than devising a straight play because you’re adding an extra element (or two, if you want to throw in some dance moves, god knows why…), and maybe it might take longer development, but if Cass and Co. can pull off something this unique and entertaining in two weeks, then what else are we missing from Perth’s talent??

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