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Reviews/Fringe World Festival/Music

What wild women do

21 January 2022

Simone Craddock and Jessie Gordon are two of Fringe’s busiest artists. Clad in leopard skin and armed with killer voices, their first show celebrates what it is to be a woman in control. Bourby Webster is thrilled to hear them roar!

WILD WOMXN, Simone Craddock and Jessie Gordon

Ellington Jazz Club, 20 January, 2022

I’ve heard Simone Craddock and Jessie Gordon perform many times, yet on this night, together on stage at The Ellington Jazz Club, these two women utterly shone. I heard them sing at a level that was truly world class.

Fringe World is a platform to try new things and push the envelope. Together, Craddock and Gordon curated an evening of timeless songs by women, for women (or rather ‘womxn’ – the x indicating that all regardless of gender were welcome) that took the many women, and few men, in the audience on a journey of pride, enlightenment, sisterhood and joy.

On the face of it, this was a show of two friends and a dude on grand piano (the ever-brilliant Adrian Galante) banging out some songs on the theme of girl power. That’s what it might have been had it not been for the careful and detailed curation of the program, shunning traditional women power ballads for much more thoughtful songs. 

The program included songs originally performed by Peggy Lee, Lesley Gore, Billy Holiday, Dorothy Fields and Dolly Parton. These were interspersed with prose and poetry with a highlight being a delightful rhyme by Dorothy Parker. (We were given instructions to not forget either Dorothy, and to go home and check them out. I did, and haven’t regretted it!).

Gordon included an original song and she well and truly owned it. Happily, her “best friend” and fellow performer Mark Turner was in the audience, so he got roped in to duet with her, creating one of those gorgeous spontaneous moments that make Fringe so special.

Not to be outdone, Craddock then sang Miss Celie’s Blues from the movie The Colour Purple and knocked it out of the park. I don’t think I’ve heard Craddock this good.

The evening came to a close with Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman. It was a fitting end to a respectfully produced, beautifully presented and wonderfully performed evening from two gifted women with incredible voices. 

They enlightened everyone in the room about the legacy of women and music. Hear them roar, indeed!

WILD WOMXN continues until Saturday 22 January.

Jessie Gordon also sings a solo show, a duo with Mark Turner and fronts various other ensembles from 27 Jan – 13 Feb.

Simone Craddock also sings a solo show, a duo with Adam Hall and fronts various other ensembles from 23 Jan – 13 Feb.

Pictured top: Simone Craddock, left, and Jessie Gordon took the audience on a journey of enlightenment and joy. Photo: John Lambert Gordon

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Author —
Bourby Webster

Bourby Webster is the director of North Street Music – a creative production and artist development company. She is also the founder of Perth Symphony Orchestra. She is a graduate of Oxford University, the Royal College of Music and has an MBA from UWA. She is a professional violist, entrepreneur, concert promoter and producer. She can’t even look at a playground as she suffers chronic motion sickness.

Past Articles

  • Masterful soloists lift the mood

    WASO’s latest program promises intensity but Bourby Webster is surprised by its sense of optimism – and fun. So much so, she could do it all again.

  • Sure hands touch the heart

    Pianist Garrick Ohlsson has been wowing audiences around the world for almost 60 years and this concert is no exception. Bourby Webster savours every moment. 

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