Well ladies, gentlemen, and all those in between, The Butterfly Club, that grand dame of Melbourne venues supporting emerging masterpieces, has yet again given a stage to the maestro Shanon Whitelock and his new cabaret collaboration. ‘Nigella – Love Bites‘ is absolutely one to watch.
In 2013 Whitelock and co. created ‘Orahfication’, a 10-minute bite size cabaret that went on to be developed into a full-blown award winning musical work that has toured and won awards worldwide from Melbourne to New York Off Broadway. If ‘Nigella Love Bites’ follows the same trajectory — and it looks like it will — we have a very entertaining hit on our hands. To date, ‘Nigella’ has already won a number of local awards, including Short and Sweet Cabaret’s best Performer and Best Cabaret.
The strength of the show lies in the ability to draw candidly from real life. Moving seamlessly between the humour and the tragedy, and at times both simultaneously, ‘Love Bites’ is a snapshot of daily life for Nigella Lawson, both in front and behind the camera. She is portrayed flawlessly by actress Raelene Isbester. For me the stand out single was ballad ‘There you were’, but my colleague’s favourite was the upbeat and funny ‘Everything is better with pleasure’.
The show is just barely PG, skirting a 15+ rating with the gleeful participation of the audience for Masterchef which last night struck gold with the audience member who gleefully took to the role of Lawson’s assistant with bulging eyes and a grin from ear to ear. He later informed me it was his birthday, and this was the best surprise gift ever. She could not have chosen a better man to stuff a chook, stir a batter, and pound bread crumbs while gesticulating in a manner, under the guidance of Ms Lawson, that could easily be misconstrued as lewd.
The misinterpretation of Nigella’a innocent gestures and word choices as erotically loaded is a theme throughout the show. The writers handle the sensuality of the subject matter well, never planting her generous and well-rounded performance into the domain of bawdy.
Get yourself to The Butterfly Club for ‘Nigella – Love Bites’, but if you miss it this time round, worry not. I am sure the show will be making an appearance on the cabaret scene again very soon.
Voice and performance coach and founder of Find Your Voice, Emmanuella Grace believes that with the right teacher anyone can learn to sing better.