Review: This Girl
In a show written especially for Adelaide Cabaret Festival, musical theatre leading lady Rachael Beck returns to the stage to deliver a tale of life growing up under the spotlight.
When Rachael Beck dons furry eyebrows and a black cape and proceeds to deliver her impersonation of Sesame Street’s The Count – a la her ten year old self performing in the local Eisteddfod – the tone is set for an evening of theatrical misadventures.
Beck mines her past to dish up the songs and the stories of her life so far, and the result is at times hilarious, at times poignant but always entertaining.
And why wouldn't it be? This is a woman who started singing and dancing her way into our hearts as a teenager when she was cast as one of the leads in Cats. She’s the girl who showed a gift for a droll one-liner and comic timing in the 80s sitcom Hey Dad and she’s the actress who became synonymous with the phrase, girl-next-door.
It’s a mantle Beck has been trying to shrug off for much of her career, as she was cast in one ingénue role after another. Not that she’s complaining – but in watching this autobiographical show, you can see that sometimes she felt the strain of keeping up the perfect persona. But rather than pontificating, Beck prefers to let the music do most of the talking for her, serving up songs such as Sondheim’s ‘Send in the Clowns’ and Kate Bush’s classic ‘Running Up that Hill’ to great effect. A moving rendition of I Dreamed a Dream’ puts the audience in the palm of her hand where they remain for the rest of the show.
A guest appearance by long-time friend Michael Cormick, who shared the stage with Beck when the pair starred opposite each other in Beauty and the Beast, allows Beck to really relax and the pair share a very intimate duet in ‘Sun and Moon’ with both soaring vocals and tender moments.
As the show winds down, Beck takes to the front of the stage and backed by only a guitar player, sings her remaining songs. Sondheim’s ‘One Hand One Heart’ allows her to display the depth of her tone as she finishes up by quoting the words of the late Maya Angelou “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel…”
Certainly at this performance Beck has made the audience feel a lot…
Watch: Rachael Beck performs Running Up That Hill on the Morning Show