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Opera Burlesque: more high Cs than sleaze

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This Cabaret Festival show promised “More high Cs than sleaze, but just enough tease to please” – and that is exactly what the talented cast delivered.

Opera Burlesque puts an operatic twist on well-known pop songs, and from the moment cabaret/opera star Ali McGregor and opera singers Antoinette Halloran and Dimity Shepherd took to the Dunstan Playhouse stage, I was mesmerised.

The evening began with a surprisingly enjoyable take on Bon Jovi’s classic song “Living On a Prayer” and continued with a mix of songs from popular artists including Britney Spears, AC/DC and Kiss, as well as music from opera classics such as Madama Butterfly.

Each breathtaking performance was supported by a talented orchestra and complemented by a series of beautiful outfits which ranged from full opera costumes to stunning evening gowns, delicately crafted corsets and vintage undergarments – the latter enabling the performers to bring a hint of tease to their burlesque-inspired performances.

McGregor, Halloran and Shepherd are extremely talented singers with powerful voices, and the songs were beautifully remastered in a way that allowed each of them to showcase their impressive vocal range.

With her razor-sharp wit, host McGregor injected a hint of comedy into Opera Burlesque, leading to a number of humorous encounters with unsuspecting audience members. A reading from the “great literature”, Fifty shades of Grey, was the inspiration for an hilariously steamy (and exceptionally high-pitched) burlesque number.

Advertised special guest Imogen Kelly was unable to perform on opening night, but this was made up for by a series of performances from other special guests, including burlesque dancer Sapphire Snow.

Although more opera than burlesque, this show contained enough elements to keep lovers of both genres entertained. It’s just a shame the season wasn’t longer.

The Opera Burlesque Adelaide Cabaret Festival season has now finished.

 More Adelaide Cabaret Festival stories and reviews here.

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