Through her Adelaide Fringe cabaret premiere, Hear My Voice, Alexandra Frost has ensured her voice has been heard loud, clear, and gratefully, triggering a standing ovation.
Not a bad state of affairs for a debut performance.
Alexandra Frost is a jazz, blues, and soul singer, who has been performing in various locations around Adelaide for many years and 2023 marks her transition from “fringe performer” to “Fringe star”.
And transition is a key word, given her lifelong relationship with her naturally deep voice that is much deeper than what is considered “normal” for most females.
As a result, some people have assumed she has “transitioned” (in relation to gender), while some have addressed her as “sir”.
To say this has impacted her internal journey of self-identity is an understatement, and it is why this show is such an accomplishment.
Despite opening night nerves causing a handful of moments in which her narrative needed a gentle nudge by trusty accompanist, Ed Heddle, the authenticity and generosity of Alex’s storytelling and singing rendered such moments inconsequential against the profundity and polish of this project.
And polished it was.
Cabaret tutors, Amelia Ryan and Michael Griffiths, have taken the raw material of Alexandra’s natural gifts, and helped their student forge a narrative and stage presence that is worth its weight in gold.
There were many highlights during this hour, including the opening number (Hear My Voice), an excruciatingly-delightful series of stories entwined around Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, and a rousing medley of power songs spearheaded by Etta James’ At Last, which had hearts and souls in the audience leaping with joy while tears of triumph flowed.
Ed Heddle’s superb accompaniment on the grand piano imbued this production with extra gravitas and finesses. He was the ever reliable conductor, deftly managing the show’s pace and intensity with aplomb. There is chemistry between these two performers and although he kept is trademark improvisation genie in its bottle more than usual, when it was let out to play it wowed the audience, especially during the grand finale, Nature Girl.
Hear My Voice is a rally call to anybody whose personal or physical attributes sit outside what’s considered “normal”. In this show, Alexandra Frost demonstrates how there can be peace and even bliss achieved when we accept the hand we’ve been dealt; instead of striving to fit into some mythical box of expectations, we should find the courage to surrender to fate and yield to our uniqueness. As Leonard Cohen wisely wrote, each of us to love will come, but like a refugee.
In the case of Alexandra Frost, her perseverance and her determination to own her voice, has enabled her to finally claim her spot on centre stage and vindicate the many kindly voices and hearts that have nurtured her gift along her journey, from her nanna who dubbed her Blossom (which thankfully led Alexandra to love Blossom Dearie, and therefore regale us with a saltry rendition of Blossom’s Blues) to her encouraging nuns at Cabra College (who inspired an enthralling display of Alexandra’s range in the show).
Hear My Voice must be seen and heard this Adelaide Fringe.
At the time of writing, only two performances remain: Thursday, February 23, 7pm, and Sunday, February 26, 3pm, Nexus Arts Venue, Adelaide.