Wednesday, 28 August 2019

False Advertising - Cabaret Review

What: False Advertising
When: 21 - 24 August 2019
Where: Downstairs, The Butterfly Club
Created by: Jenna Featherstone
Performed by: Matthew Nutley and Jenna Featherstone
Jenna Featherstone
A fun new cabaret came to The Butterfly Club with the insouciance of Mad Men and the dryness of Utopia. Jenna Featherstone took us inside the spin and grin of the advertising world in False Advertising and boy, did she let it all hang out - to dry!

Although Featherstone has had a substantial advertising career with major clients (and you find out just how big they are/were in the show), she is also a performer with a significant background in musical theatre. It makes perfect sense to combine her talents in campaign design, copy writing, and singing to come up with this cheeky little cabaret.

Like most of us, Featherstone had something of a love affair with the TV series Mad Men, and as she began her first tentative steps into the world of advertising her head was filled with thought bubbles of long lunches, glitz and glamour, and old fashioneds on tap. And then she got a job.

Featherstone knew she would be starting at the bottom but it was a real shock to find herself hanging out with cockroaches and being implicated in a case of serial roachicide. Still, the only way was up and eventually she hit the giddy heights of the gambling industry.

Accompanied by repetiteur Matthew Nutley, Featherstone makes her way through a range of fun songs from popular musicals which lament the problems of a workaday world including the evergreen '9 to 5'. Perhaps one thing I would suggest is that Featherstone focus on developing the mezzo range of her mezzosoprano voice. Her lower tones are lovely if a bit weak, whereas her voice gets sharp on the very upper notes.

The downstairs stage of The Butterfly Club has undergone a facelift with sexy black tabs and bigger loudspeakers. On the night I went the sound was a bit too loud - almost to the point of pain - and unfortunately this highlights weaknesses and those sharp notes hurt.

Putting those technical issues aside though, False Advertising is very funny and Featherstone brings back all of those earworms advertising executives get paid so much to destroy our brains with. Featherstone even apologises for her personal role in destroying perfectly good songs by turning them into ads.

As expected in cabaret there is audience interaction. In False Advertising Featherstone got us to help her sell unsellable products. The important thing to remember? Sex sells...anything!

False Advertising is a clever show and heaps of fun. Perhaps just lowering the key of certain songs would push it into the exceptional range. Featherstone is a beautiful and charismatic performer and I look forward to her next installment.

3 Stars

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