Adelaide performer Bronwen James should perform and be seen a lot more. Presenting a show that celebrates redness and more specifically, red hair, James is friendly, witty, fascinating to watch and listen to, well researched and a beautiful singer – particularly evidenced by her stunning rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Send In The Clowns”.
“Reds” embraces just about any red headed woman you can think of – and a few that you can’t. Pauline Hanson (“It’s Not Easy Being White” sung to Kermit The Frog’s ‘green’ ballad), Julia Gillard and what her inner dialogue may have been during her famous ‘Misogyny’ speech (“I See Red”) and Lucille Ball are delightfully dished up for our edification. But James gives us well researched historical stories on the origin of and the dreadful disability associated with a certain famous brand of matches; and Hannie Shaft, a Dutch resistance fighter during World War II, who became known as “the girl with the red hair”.
“Reds” shows off many, many facets of Ms James: her ability to research, entertain, show off some great mimicry skills, her gift to parody, and her ability to share with us some beautifully poignant moments of her life without being maudlin or self-obsessed.
This is a wonderful, funny, uplifting cabaret whose season has unfortunately finished, but who knows – we can only hope that it returns, or that Ms James will present another. At an hour long, it wasn’t long enough to soak in the wonderfulness that is Bronwen James. “Reds” is not only cathartic for the performer but for the audience as well.