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Crowded Blouse

Crowded Blouse Lil Miss Mel - Review by Steve Davis The Adelaide Show Podcast

Crowded Blouse








Things we loved

  • Lil Miss Mel exuded joy and sass
  • Mel and Deborah create a flawless sound together
  • Clever, comedic reworking of pop classics

Things we would reconsider

  • Nothing to note

You simply must see Crowded Blouse if you want to experience Adelaide Cabaret Festival Fringe perfection!

Lil Miss Mel is a pint-sized performer who packs a punch as she peppers her audience with a potpourri of patter intermingled with songs ranging from powerful soul to reconstructed pop.

Unlike much Cabaret Festival fare, there is no over-the-top makeup or ribald costuming here. There’s no need. This is pure class, served honestly, with a generous dash of pizazz.

Lil Miss Mel and her accompanist, Deborah Brennan, create a sweet and sometimes sassy atmosphere.

Brennan’s flawless playing creates a buoyant stage upon which Mel can stride and sing and spill the beans about her life as a performer,  against the backdrop of her early life as a nerdy bookworm at a girls’ school through her confused blossoming at university, to her embrace of motherhood.

Mel appropriates a number of classic songs, sometimes unlocking laughter with her clever, rewritten lyrics, and sometimes performing them in her own meticulous and heartfelt style.

Quite frankly, Lil Miss Mel’s rendition of two Crowded House classics is simply breathtaking; they were always good songs, even great songs, but this duo serves them with extra lashings of gravitas, illuminating the beauty and poignancy of the lyrics.

Yes, this show obeys the time-honoured formula of classic cabaret; a personal story spanning the arc of years and emotions, with laughter, reflection, and delicious song along the way. But that that is exactly why you must see this show. You will have an intimate audience with the very elements of cabaret; no need for gimmicks of glitz here.

What Mel has crafted is what we might dub the cabaret equivalent of “doing a Mozart”. Music aficionados can see the maestro’s iconic 1-4-5 progression from a mile off but never tire of its beauty. And if classic Mozart is good enough for music lovers, then Crowded Blouse is good enough for anybody with a pulse, a big heart, and an appetite for joy. Perhaps we could dub Crowded Blouse as the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival’s “ode to joy”?

At the risk of triggering Mel’s memories of long weekend’s in cover bands, let’s attempt our own reworking of a classic to urge you to get the last tickets for the remaining performance.

Well the last show of Crowded Blouse is almost done
Buy remaining tickets, and you’ll be in a land of song
There ain’t nothing like this “missus”
And the gorgeous songs she kisses
You’re gonna want this duo playing all night long!

Crowded Blouse, Nexus Arts, Lion Arts Centre, final show of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival Fringe, June 12, 2022

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