Best known as a finalist on the commercial television singing competition, The Voice, Prinnie Stevens is a singer and theatre performer, starring in productions including The Bodyguard and Thriller Live. In Lady Sings the Blues, Prinnie brings her Tongan Catholic heritage to stage and maps out a life and love of strong women in music.
From Billie Holiday to Beyonce, Prinnie maps out one hundred years of music from her eyes, tracing their history through her own story. Uncovering and connecting the dots, Prinnie presents each singer and song with her powerful and commanding stage presence. A little bit of history and a lot of good music makes for a sweet cabaret.
The venue, located on the Wharf of the Sydney Theatre Company, the cabaret-style set up sets the mood for the evening. Tables and chairs pepper the floor, with tiered seating towards the back, the audience are encouraged to participate, with a holler here and a sing-along there, we go on the journey with Prinnie.
Prinnie’s voice and stage presence is on another level. When she sings the music of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, when she belts out Whitney Houston, you know that she belongs to the group of women she so dearly admires and looks up to. We all look forward to what she does and where she goes to next. May she continue to celebrate female artists and continue to tell her own story.
The musicians who accompany Prinnie on stage, Ben Kiehne and Bonne Aim, are as talented as they are passionate about their craft. They tune in to Prinnie seamlessly and add a vital layer to the cabaret performance. This is what authentic cabaret should be.
The only complaint one would have had is that the one-hour performance is not long enough. Not only because one hundred years of women in music can’t be adequately tracked in a 60-minute sprint, but because the show was too good to be over that soon.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Prinnie Stevens in Lady Sings the Blues played at Wharf 1 Theatre, as part of Sydney Festival
Header image credit: John McRae Photography