Cabaret Fringe Festival
The Jade
Until 09 Jun 2021

Review by Helen Karakulak

The concept of the “The Good Girls Guide to Rock” is clever and intriguing. A trio of performers, Verity Colyer, Megan Doherty and Shelley Edwards accompanied by Cameron Oosterbaan on keys, present mainstream rock songs from a classical perspective and musical theatre background. The intention of stripping back mainstream rock songs to show the musical complexity and emphasise storytelling behind them is an admirable one. However, this performance falls short as their alternative vocal arrangements don’t stray far enough from the original tracks to successfully integrate into the genre of musical theatre or cabaret.

With the premise of breaking away from ‘good girl’ stereotypes of naivety and innocence by performing rock comes an expectation of excitement. Stand-out moments in tracks such as Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and Meatloaf’s “I’d Do Anything For Love” meet this expectation and showcase the talents of the vocalists. Nonetheless, the overall set lacks the consistency and cohesion needed to engage audiences throughout.

The Jade provides a lovely and intimate venue for cabaret, with the small stage adorned with twinkle lights setting a comfortable scene encompassing the performers. While each performer has their own merit, clashing vocals leave a tension clouding the stage, interfering with the collaboration that would have cemented this group of women as an ensemble.

Doherty’s strong vocals and comfortable body language behind a microphone make her stage presence shine. Edwards’ soft vocals were sweet, with her physicality setting her apart as the quiet, docile songstress of the three. Vocalist and musical director Colyer has a unique tone and a clear enthusiasm for the genre.

Colyer carries the commentary between tracks, sharing anecdotes about songwriters and joking about the three performers use of their performing arts degrees. While interesting and humorous, a seemingly nervous delivery at times alleviated some of this commentary’s colour.

Filled with potential, “The Good Girls Guide to Rock” is an exercise in looking at something mainstream through a classic lens. With some polishing and an improved symbiosis of the ensemble, this is a message that could rock audiences.