Until 11 Mar 2018

Review by Jamie Wright

To be ‘extra’, performer Samantha Riley tells us, is to be over the top, outrageous. But how is that a bad thing?

Over the course of an hour, Riley regales the audience with her thoughts on fashion trends, relationships, and life as both a drama student and a professional musical theatre performer, amongst other things – including a retelling of the events surrounding her birth that, in what can only be described as perfect timing, synched with some appropriate ambient noise from the street outside.

It’s a clever, well-constructed show – there are even props, and excellent ones at that. Riley is hilarious and engaging and has a great rapport with her (very put-upon) accompanist, the wonderfully straight-faced Isaac Mouskovias.

In between all of this, of course, are the songs – and Riley has a gorgeous voice and knows how to use it. Most don’t get a full rendition; rather, there are snippets and mashups and versions where the lyrics have been changed for humorous reasons. It’s a mix of pop, jazz and musical theatre with the standouts being Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy”, “On My Own” from “Les Misérables” and the hilarious “In Short” from the Pasek & Paul musical/song cycle “Edges”.

While it’s a fairly typical format for a cabaret show, and some of the patter covers topics we’ve maybe heard a few times before, Riley’s great stage presence, energy and wit keeps it fresh. And the singing is an absolute delight; honestly, part of me wanted there to be a second show straight afterwards where we just got to hear all the songs referenced throughout – though maybe only the ‘Tuesday night’ version of “Tomorrow”…

A dazzling show from a very talented performer.

Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)