Review: Brenta’s Bad Thing
Adelaide punters will no doubt be familiar with Carla Lippis. For several years the singer fronted the alt country/rock outfit, Carla Lippis and the Martial Hearts, who set the crowd swooning at The Wheat on many an occasion.
This month however audiences will get to see Lippis in a new light, as she unleashes her alter-ego ‘Brenta’ in a new show that is being staged as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
The self-devised piece, Brenta’s Bad Thing allows Lippis to let loose a wildly extravagant persona in her ‘mafia princess’ character. Lippis playfully manipulates stereotypes to deliver a cheeky characterisation that doesn't mind taking the mickey.
Brenta is a ‘typical’ Italio/Aussie princess with one exception – she has a mad talent for singing and dreams of being a famous popstar… So when the devil comes a-calling disguised as a cowboy named JR and offers Brenta fame and fortune as a country singer, she immediately accepts. The result is a wild ride through county and alt county and psychedelic country hits.
Backed by musicians - guitarist Steven Pederson (from Carla Lippis and the Martial Hearts), Kevin van der Zwaag (The Transatlantics) and Mark Ferguson (Mike Stewart Big Band), Lippis delivers an exceptional performance. Whether she’s channelling Patsy or Nancy, her tone is spot on. At one point she regales the crowd with her take on Norma Desmond’s penultimate speech from Sunset Boulevarde, lost on most, but appreciated by a few, it’s little touches like this that show this is a performer who’s done her homework.
A truly entertaining performance - Lippis commits to every moment - and the result is cabaret magic.
Brenta’s Bad Thing plays at Art Space Gallery, Festival Theatre June 6-8.
Watch Carla and the Martial Hearts perform Bang Bang