Printable CopyA LITTLE BIT EXTRA
Tandanya
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)