Metrosexual written and performed by Matthew Robinson. Produced by Bill Stephens in the Cabaret Crème series at The Street Theatre, Monday September 17, 2007.
Bill Stephens continues to be the doyen of cabaret since the days of his famous Queanbeyan School of Arts Café, and still works to bring both top class performers and new promising talent to public attention.
Matthew Robinson is an actor, songwriter and pianist who, at 27, is building a career in musical and straight theatre, on stage and television. He has certainly been successful in performing and writing, perhaps especially in winning an $80,000 Pratt Prize for Music Theatre in 2004 to develop Metro Street, his first full length musical, to production stage.
However, the program of his original songs in Metrosexual is not as engaging or exciting as I had hoped. Robinson’s lyrics are interesting, giving us a new twist in close-up observation of modern metro life. I thought the best example was the love song which focusses on finding someone who can give him broadband, pay tv and other electronic consumer experiences, at a reasonable cost per month, of course. Many individual lines are effective, but there are other stronger more stylish metro-folk-funk writer-singers especially from Melbourne where Robinson is based.
The Street Theatre mainstage is quite unforgiving for a solo performer trying to work in an intimate cabaret format. Without food, drink and scattered tables there was not the ambience which Robinson might have exploited, particularly with a younger audience to whom he would speak directly. To a largely middle-aged group at the 8.30pm session I attended, his patter between songs seemed a bit shallow and predictable, without the warmth of personality of a more mature performer.
I also found his music rather repetitive in form, though interesting for his Mozartian off the keynote endings. None of the songs had melodies which were well distinguished from each other or remain in the memory for later enjoyment. I was left with an impression of talent which will need some more years to mature before it fulfills its promise.
Cabaret Crème will present Lisa Schouw’s Life and Music of Nina Simone on October 15 and The Streisand Story performed by Avigail Herman on November 19.
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