Music, News, Performing arts, Reviews

Sultry stars live on

Fringe World review: Ali Bodycoat and Jessie Gordon, Peggy Lee & Judy Garland ⋅
Ellington Jazz Club, February 6 ⋅
Review by Leon Levy ⋅

There was something especially alluring about the prospect of a session at Ellington devoted to two great American singers whose impact was felt across a broad swathe of the mid-20th century. Although they were close contemporaries and each possessed a beguiling vocal personality, they made their mark in rather different ways. Peggy Lee’s sultry renditions in both the jazz and popular repertoire saw her through a long career into old age; Judy Garland, by starting early, had almost as long a career despite her troubled life being cut short.

The question on this occasion was whether two such larger-than-life careers could be encompassed in barely an hour. And the answer on the night was an emphatic yes.

Judy Garland’s triumphs on the concert stage were arguably even greater than those on screen and disc. Ali Bodycoat, covering the Garland songs, conquered the challenge of bringing a high-voltage personality into a small room. Many of her interpretations seemed to foreshadow what was still to come in Garland’s unhappy life: Get Happy brittle with brightness, Over the Rainbow bearing a sadness deeper than Dorothy’s in The Wizard of Oz, whose happy ending the singer herself never achieved. But it was not all gloom: Zing Went the Strings of My Heart and The Trolley Song brought moments of happy abandon, enhanced by wonderfully clear diction.

Peggy Lee’s seductive style and songbook were surely tailor-made for the intimate space that is the Ellington, and Jessie Gordon slipped effortlessly into the role. Is That All There Is exuded “nightclub” and the singer brought if off beautifully. The song, Fever, although not originally hers, became inextricably bound with Peggy Lee and was another considerable highlight. All the chosen songs were covered with authentic feeling and gave great pleasure.

The linking banter between the two artists brought context to some of the songs and avoided the risk of a channelling exercise. But, in truth, much of the chatter did not add to the occasion: the delivery of the songs – and the support of a stylish Adrian Galante at the piano – said it all.

Peggy Lee & Judy Garland continues until 10 February.

Ali Bodycoat also appears in From Bodycoat to Barbra. Jessie Gordon also presents The Western Swing HourBest Friends  and Fairly Average Dance Band.

Pictured top: Ali Bodycoat and Jessie Gordon. Photo supplied.

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Cabaret, Features, Fringe World, Music, News, Performing arts, Vocal

Channelling the greats

Singer Ali Bodycoat will need no introduction to local jazz aficionados. A regular performer at Perth’s Ellington Jazz Club, she’s also a Fringe World veteran. This year she’s all about powerhouse women, performing solo in “From Bodycoat to Barbra” and joining forces with Jessie Gordon in “Peggy Lee and Judy Garland”.

Ahead of her back-to-back season, Bodycoat sat down with Seesaw for a Fringe Session Q&A.

Profile Headshot of Ali Bodycoat
Ali Bodycoat

Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be a singer?
Ali Bodycoat: I have always wanted to perform – for as long as I can remember I had a huge desire to be in the entertainment industry.

S: Tell us about your training…
AB: The most influential formal training I had came from three incredible women – Sandra Gorringe, my high school drama teacher, Janice Taylor-Warne my classical voice teacher at WAAPA and Helen Matthews, my private jazz voice teacher. To this day, the techniques that were taught to me by these marvellous three are a part of how I approach the stage in any genre. I completed a Certificate of Musical Theatre at WAAPA and literally “fell” into the jazz world in Perth. The greatest lessons are still continuing and these are and always have been, on the job!

S: Describe your artistic practice…
AB:
Remember why we are doing this, focus on the music and the reasons behind the song – not yourself, and never, ever break an audience’s pre-conceived notions of the fantasy of being entertained. Most importantly, develop your technique and routines early so you always have that strength to fall back on.

S: What do you love most about what you do?
AB: The joy of giving an experience to an audience – for just one tiny moment, you are their travel guide and you can take them anywhere to which their mind chooses to travel. There is also something incredibly special about making music with a group of musicians who are as behind the music as you are.

S: Career highlight so far?
AB: Performing with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and also the Proms New Years’ Eve Concert with Mark Coughlan at the Perth Concert Hall.

S: Funniest career moment so far?
AB: Oh so countless – each performance has its moments of hilarity – probably being naked onstage but that’s another story…!

S: Tell us about your two Fringe World shows, “From Bodycoat to Barbra” and “Peggy Lee & Judy Garland”
AB: The unforgettable Jessie Gordon and I perform together in “Peggy Lee & Judy Garland”. “From Bodycoat to Barbra” presents the music of Barbra Streisand. Both shows are at the Ellington Jazz Club and are one hour slots jam-packed with the legends of the women and their music!

S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing/doing at Fringe?
AB: As much as possible… get out that programme and DIVE IN!

S: What is your favourite part of the playground?
AB: Well I’ve always had a penchant for a trampoline…

You can catch Ali Bodycoat in 
“Peggy Lee & Judy Garland”, 6 – 10 February 
“Ali Bodycoat Presents – From Bodycoat to Barbra”, 13 – 17 February
at the Ellington Jazz Club on Beaufort Street.

Pictured top: Ali Bodycoat with Jessie Gordon.

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Bodycoat to Barbra
Cabaret, Calendar, Fringe World, Performing arts

Cabaret: Ali Bodycoat Presents: From Bodycoat to Barbra

13 – 17 February @ The Ellington Jazz Club ·
Presented by Ali Bodycoat ·

Barbra Streisand is the ultimate icon.

A sublime power-house who encompasses a phenomenal history of actress, inadvertent singer, film, comedienne, composer, producer, director, designer and the only female artist with the most number one albums in Billboard’s history.

Ali Bodycoat delivers a tribute to the indelible music of Barbra Streisand – she who will forever rule our ardent hearts – from ‘The Way We Were’ to ‘Yentl’, all whilst feeling ‘Evergreen’.

With a repertoire that spans generations and lends musical memories to every emotion, nominated Best Cabaret Fringe World 2018 and Best WA Cabaret Fringe World 2017, award-winning Ali Bodycoat dedicates an evening to the glory of the original ‘Funny Girl’. Accompanied by Chris Foster – Grand Piano.

More info:
www.fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/ali-bodycoat-presents-from-bodycoat-to-barbra-fw2019

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Peggy Lee & Judy Garland
Calendar, Fringe World, Music, Performing arts

Music: Peggy Lee and Judy Garland

6 – 10 February @ The Ellington Jazz Club ·
Presented by Jessie Gordon ·

Peggy Lee and Judy Garland: two of the most iconic performers to ever have graced stage and screen. Award winning Perth vocalists Ali Bodycoat and Jessie Gordon bring Judy and Pegs to Fringe Worldin all their glory, from the exuberance of Judy’s ‘Get Happy’ and’The Trolley Song’ to the heartfelt melancholia of Peggy’s ‘Is ThatAll There Is’ and the sizzling ‘Fever’. Expect show-stopping solos and playful duets to pay tribute to these talented women of showbiz!

More info
W: www.fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/peggy-lee-and-judy-garland-fw2019
E:  hello@fringeworld.com.au

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