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Adelaide Cabaret Festival Review: Love. War. Death. BREL. - Space Theatre, Adelaide (09.06.13)

Helen Morse, John O’May and Lucy Maunder paid tribute to French musical act, Jacques Brel at the Space Theatre as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival on Sunday afternoon. Soft smoke filled the room; "Love. War. Death. BREL." - these were the first words spoken as Helen, John and Lucy walked on stage, joining the pianist and violinist.

Lucy Maunder was a vision in red, John was the distinguished man who looked like a poet and Helen was dressed in black tights and what appeared to be an oversized black blazer.

The trio opened the show with "Carousel", a fun-filled song guaranteed to make you feel like you’re at a theme park, riding the carousel while eating cotton candy. It was the perfect song to introduce the rest of the event. Throughout the show, each member would recite a quote from somebody famous and then proceed to sing a new number. They would take turns in between solos and group performances.

The group performance of "The Middle Class" was a brilliant display of vocals and active role-play. The words came alive as they sung the words, 'The middle class are just like pigs, the older they get, the dumber they get!'; it felt as if they were portraying themselves in this scenario. John O’May has a way of making you laugh or cry along with him, and feel his spirit in every word he says. It was easy to feel every emotion he was singing about.
It didn’t feel like you were only at a vocal based show, it felt like you were watching a story unfold, and that’s exactly how it should feel.

A heartfelt performance (and a personal favourite) was when the spotlight turned to Lucy, as she sung a song, dedicated to lovers. Despite not being on the spotlight, my eyes were focused on Helen and John as they held hands near the piano, and slow danced to the music. The song almost brought a tear to my eye; it was a portrayal of true love.

The pianist and violinist showcased their musical talents during a stellar solo performance they delivered during the middle of the show. Lucy Maunder later delivered a rendition of "Au Suivant (Next One)", with poignant lyrics such as 'I was only 20, and I was losing my virginity in a portable brothel of an army on campaign, next one.'

The show ended with another performance of the opening song, "Carousel". The crowd then burst into a round of applause as each member on stage bowed, and said their goodbyes.