Only rarely Shaw shows her true talent.

cabaret review | Read in About 2 minutes
31371 large
Published 14 Aug 2017

We all need to push the boundaries and break the rules sometimes, says Australian cabaret star Pamela Shaw. But she fails to listen to her own advice and keeps her cabaret remarkably safe. Accompanied on the piano by the brilliant Ian Herman (or Nathan Martin from the second half or the Fringe) she sings stories and tells little tales, but never reaches a climax.

There’s no doubt Shaw knows how to interpret a song. She might not be the best singer—admittedly, her voice suffers slightly from having a Fringe cold—but as an actress she manages to pull every heartstring in the songs where she can excel as she reflects on life’s events.

Unfortunately those moments are sparse in this cabaret. There are some awkward old-fashioned dance moves during songs and pointless ramblings in between – though she’s aware of the latter. “I don’t know why I had to tell that”, she remarks at some point.

The title of the show is borrowed from Tim Minchin’s song from the musical Matilda. The protagonist of Roald Dahl’s story is her role model, she explains, as she realised she had to be a bit naughty in life and break free. How she did that is unclear. And why she sings ‘Naughty’, pretending to be a young, silly girl is an even bigger mystery. The painfully childish interpretation is a missed chance for Shaw to show what an enormous talent she possesses. She doesn’t have to hide behind a naughty little girl to be the naughty powerhouse she is.