THEATRE REVIEW: Where Was I

Fresh out of the inaugural Short, Sweet+Cabaret festival, Tom Dickins returns to The Butterfly Club with a new show, Where Was I, incorporating his acclaimed short piece, Cab of Rage
THEATRE REVIEW: Where Was I
Fresh out of the inaugural Short, Sweet+Cabaret festival, Tom Dickins returns to The Butterfly Club with a new show, Where Was I, incorporating his acclaimed short piece, Cab of Rage. Based on the true story of his around the world travels, the show focuses on the search for money, love, a train ticket and yourself - a search familiar to the seasoned backpacker. Tom has a deliciously dark style that complements the slightly seedy subject matter down to the ground, relying on sharp changes in tone and decent amounts of schadenfreude to lighten the mood. Coupled with elegantly subdued lighting and one heftily sultry piano, he effortlessly evokes the ambiance of a Parisian piano bar. While some of the presentation felt a little underprepared, just a little too raw and personal, this was more than made up for by Tom's incredible voice, soaring through songs both original and familiar expressively and with attractive confidence. Cover songs sound very little like the originals, and I in fact required a song list to recognise Rufus Wainwright's 14th Street - amusing since the two performers are so similar. However, the original music scattered throughout is probably the highlight of the show, tailored as it is for Tom's voice and confessional style. Of particular note is Bad Wine and Lemon Cake, a simple song with an infectious tune that digs its claws into the brain and refuses to let go. The recurring refrain sums up Tom's message - Where Was I - The blur of memories and half-remembered mistakes and places and destinations that sweep through this one hour on the stage could leave anyone wondering: where, and who, are we?

David Allen

Friday 6 February, 2009

About the author

David Allen is an editorial contributor for ArtsHub.