Cabaret Fringe Festival
La Bohème
Until 28 Jun 2015

Review by Louise Miller-Frost

You could be watching someone – or someone could be watching you…

Perth’s Jen de Ness, accompanied by husband Bill Atkinson on acoustic guitar, leads the audience through the interwoven stories of the dancers at the Green Tile Tango Club – named after her bathroom!

Original bluesy-jazz numbers covering the tangled love affairs, breakups and love triangles of the characters are intermingled with classic torch songs – Peggy Lee’s “Fever!”, “The Man I Love”, and “Cry Me a River”.

De Ness’s sultry style is very strong in the lower register, and her insouciant attitude, use of minimal props and tongue-in-cheek quips bring the stories to life. De Ness inhabits her exotic characters as they work through attraction, passion and betrayal, all to the rhythm of the tango. The interaction between de Ness and Atkinson is both polished and intimate, without excluding the audience from their on-stage relationship.

While a full house is a good thing for performers, in La Bohème’s small upstairs room it did limit de Ness’s ability to interact directly with the audience. She overcame this barrier, aided by the familiarity of the classics, and the accessible rhythms and choruses of the original pieces which were enthusiastically taken up by onlookers.

An interesting and original show by an engaging and amusing performer.