The Chimbley Bruvvers are a Cockney Dickensian duo who sing
Last Saturday, July 14th, the Sapphire Coast Alliance Francaise held their Bastille Day celebrations at the Oaklands Event Centre in Pambula, and I was invited to perform, along with Paul Dion. Here’s the publicity spiel:
This year I was asked by the Bermagui Chamber of Commerce and the Four Winds Festival to host/MC their Community Christmas Carols on the Oval Concert. Well, I was most honoured to be asked, but also, to be honest, a tiny bit anxious because there were several elements of the concert I couldn’t control. Am I a control freak? No, but getting people to sing along is slightly different to a performance – you have to be in control, but you also have to let go. It’s a fine line.
But, magically, everything seemed to work on the day – it had been threatening to rain all day, but by 6pm the sun started to peek through the clouds and by 6.30pm it was hot. There was no wind. The choir of 6 sang beautifully. The Bega District Brass Band played sensitively and well. The kids’ choir was extremely cute. None of my jokes fell flat, and everyone enjoyed the stories. Patrick Dickson did a brilliant rendition of Good King Wenceslas that went down spectacularly well. My solos with pianist Jaclyn Sloane were beautiful (others reported) and our version of the Twelve Days of Christmas – the Twelve Days of Bermagui – went down a treat.
Afterwards, so many people came up to say how much they enjoyed the whole thing – many who had been coming to Bermagui’s Carols on the Oval for years. But don’t just take it from me – here’s what people said:
Carols on the Oval – Bermagui
I am writing to thank you for leading the Carols on the Oval last Friday. It was a triumph and one person commented that it was the best it has been for 14 years!
The reality is that the Carols on the Oval event is a time when people want tocome together to sing – it’s informal, fun and family friendly. I think we got it right this year and folks really appreciated it. That was in no small part to you, your preparation and your wonderful singing, and of course the touch of glamour you brought to the event. It was an honor to be your backing singer!”
David Francis, Executive Director, Four Winds Festival
“I wanted to write how fantastic I thought the carols were tonight. Eliane is delightful: full of fun, beautiful voice, engaging and she set exactly the right tone. It was, in my view, by far the best Carols on the oval we have had in many, many years.”
Moira Scollay, Deputy Chair, Four Winds Festival
Entitled, ‘Oratorio, opera and operetta… and a little musical theatre’, my shows with Bill Hawkey last week in Narooma (St Paul’s Anglican Church) and Bega (the Bega Regional Art Gallery) were so well received by all audiences. An exploration of the development of the mezzo soprano role (from the pants role to the uncontrollable woman), I took people on a musical, historical journey that was fun, funny and just a little bit naughty. I sang pieces from Vivaldi’s Gloria, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, then moved on to the fabulous male roles in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Gounod’s Faust and Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. Then, finally, I got to play some women – Carmen (Bizet), La Perichole (Offenbach), Eliza Doolittle (Lerner and Loewe) and the mistress from ‘Nine’ (Marty Yelman).
But here’s what audience members said:
“I really enjoyed you guiding us through the mezzo journey. Lots of fun. Beautiful repertoire selection and stunning delivery (you were fabulous in all the roles).”
“Eliane’s concert was simply brilliant last night. We vastly enjoyed her classical and “cabaret” popular repertoire. The public was most appreciative of her excellent witty and very unusual performance. Yes, Eliane wins people’s hearts with her warmth and spontaneity.”
I’ve been performing a fabulous solo show around High Schools in NSW and ACT, Letters from France, written and directed by Scott Croll. It’s about the life, poetry and letters of Wilfred Owen, and is told from the perspective of Owen’s mother, Susan, to whom he wrote throughout his life.
It’s been getting some wonderful reviews:
St Pius X College, Chatswood:
‘A haunting performance of a grieving mother troubled by the heart of a son killed in war. The moral questioning , intermingled with the gritty emotional honesty of the tormented mother enables Eliane to have complete jurisdiction over the audience.’
Homebush Boys High School:
“…energetic and expressive…made the poems come alive.”
“…helped me understand Owen’s voice so much better. The performance of “Dulce” was incredible.”
“The way Owen’s letters were incorporated helped the students understand the man and his humanity.”
“The best way to describe the show is dynamic – the performer was dynamic and the poems became dynamic. So much better than just reading words on paper.”
“The students were enthralled for the duration of the performance. We will have this show at our school again.”
If you’d like to book this show, which is suitable for Years 10, 11 and 12, visit Troubie Theatre: Letters from France – Booking and Information
I had the absolute delight to perform with Nicolette Boaz at the Holdworth St Community Centre, Woollahra. We did a whole bunch of great jazz standards, including ‘All of Me’, ‘Fly me to the moon’, ‘Smile’, ‘Blue Moon’, ‘Summertime’, ‘Over the Rainbow’ and ‘My Funny Valentine’, along with the fabulous ‘I could have danced all night’, and a couple of Latin American numbers – Quizas, Quizas, Quizas (from Cuba) and Quien Sera (from Mexico), aka Sway, made famous by Dean Martin. Here’s a photo of me singing with Joyce, who helped me sing ‘Blue Moon’. A joy!
At last, my showreel for The Lucky Country… Click on the link above to see this short showreel of my show for schools, written by Mick Devine and me, and directed by Alicia Talbot. I’ve been doing the rounds of NSW High Schools and now Primary Schools with this great show about post-war migration to Australia. It features six lovable and very funny female characters (all played by yours truly), including Beth, a ten-pound Pom, Vittoria, an Italian nurse on a migrant ship, Afifa, a soccer-playing Muslim girl, Anisha, an Indian Aussie with a Granddad full of tales about the British Raj, Ivana from what used to be Yugoslavia and Mimi, a Vietnamese ‘boat-person’. For information about booking, visit www.troubie.com.au
The wonderful residents at Lulworth House, Montefiore Home, Beresford Hall and Paddington Presbyterian Aged Care, throughout August, September and October, have been once again welcoming us into their lives, and providing us with the opportunity to sing and play some beautiful, powerful, funny and sentimental music.
The old favourites are still being performed (How could I NOT sing, ‘One day when we were young’, ‘Bluebirds over the white cliffs of dover’, ‘La vie en rose’?), but we’ve been having fun with some exciting new material – the very funny ‘Nina’ by Noel Coward (about a certain senorita from Argentina who refuses to dance); ‘A little bit in love’ and ‘100 Easy Ways to Lose a Man’ from Wonderful Town by Leonard Benstein, ‘My Yiddishe Momme’ by Lew Pollack, ‘Cabaret Songs’ by Benjamin Britten and WH Auden and ‘Let the rest of the world go by’ by Ernest Ball (composer of ‘When Irish Eyes are Smiling’, amongst others
Just at the moment, I’m exploring a lighter repertoire – not as much opera – but never fear, those songs will always be there, ready to be performed at a moment’s notice. How could I ever ignore Carmen? Some new songs on the horizon are exquisitely romantic and French – ‘Plaisirs d’amour’ by Poulenc and ‘Je te veux’ by Erik Satie. A request by Sofia from Lulworth House for ‘Sunrise, Sunset’ from Fiddler on the Roof is also being realised.
And I want to say a special and enormous thank you to my accompanists, Belinda McGlynn and Josephine Tam – two extraordinary women with talent in droves, and incredible musical sensitivity. I just love working with these two beautiful and gifted souls.