Cabaret duo Baby et Lulu will make you swear you’re walking the streets of Paris.
From the perfectly-pronounced French lyrics, to the accordion floating through the theatre, to the audience chattering in French, Baby et Lulu will make you swear you’re walking the streets of Paris.
Abby Dodson of Leonardo’s Bride fame and Lara Goodridge from string quartet Fourplay appear on the Festival Stage as Baby and Lulu, two quirky songstresses with intermittent French accents and a lineup of melodic French tunes.
Audiences are treated to a variety of music styles, ranging from jazz to pop to melancholy ballads. With the exception of an English verse or two, all songs are performed in French, as are parts of the conversational component of the show. This means that French speakers may follow the show a little more easily than those who barely know their escargot from their éclair, but even non-Francophiles will recognise some of the melodies. ‘Hymne à l'amour’ – an Edith Piaf original famously covered by Jeff Buckley – and a translated version of the Leonardo’s Bride classic, ‘Even when I’m Sleeping’ are both clearly recognisable in either language and are both performed with musicality and enthusiasm.
With or without French expertise, it is impossible not to be charmed by the hypnotic voices of Baby and Lulu. The duo harmonised flawlessly throughout the show, and their sweet vocal tones complement each other well. Their accents, both spoken and sung, were excellent, and gave their songs the soft, throaty quality unique to French song.
The occasional attempts at choreography seemed awkward and stiff, but when left to their own devices both singers seem comfortable and carefree onstage, joking with the audience and making bilingual, self-deprecating quips when lyrics were dropped or transitions between songs were lengthier than anticipated. Lulu’s occasional violin accompaniment was an excellent addition to the show, both showcasing her talent and giving a quirky, folksy twist to the music.
A particularly impressive aspect of the show was the band. As they also recorded with Baby et Lulu on their album, it is unsurprising that the four musicians collaborate easily. However, their genuine enjoyment of the show, in addition to the fact that they, like their frontwomen, were able to be witty and fun in two languages, add an impressive element of cohesion to the event, especially for those who have grown accustomed to the stone-faced insular bands seen all-too-often in cabaret.
The Festival Theatre, repurposed as an intimate tabled cabaret venue, is the perfect home for the pair. The venue, in addition to the excellent lighting design, provides an atmosphere of sophistication and simplicity which fits well with the performance.
Performing two encores, Baby et Lulu had their audience thoroughly enchantés. For those who love France, love French music or simply love tight harmonies and classic cabaret, the duo will deliver a fun, if sometimes cheesy performance. Baby et Lulu will be touring throughout July and August, performing in New South Wales, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland. For more information on their upcoming tour check their website.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Baby et Lulu
Performed by Abby Dobson and Lara Goodridge
Accompanied by Marcello Maio, Matt Ottignon, Julian Curwin and Mark Harris
Adelaide Festival Theatre
Adelaide Cabaret Festival
7 – 22 June