‘Frankly Winehouse’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by February 22, 2016

‘Frankly Winehouse’ is a respectful examination of the highly talented singer, Amy Winehouse. It was devised and written by a relatively newcomer, Melbourne’s 25 year-old, Ashleigh Kreveld. Even though Ashleigh has appeared in numerous musicals in the past 10 years, amazingly, she is mainly self-taught, achieving her immense talent as a singer, dancer and musician mainly by learning on the job.

This 55-minute, commanding cabaret can be seen at the Moon Café, Newcastle Street, Northbridge and is part of FringeWorld 2016. All shows are at 7.00 pm until Sunday 21st February. Due to her sell-out season, two more shows were added, and even with seating for around 100, they too disappeared instantly.

 

The set up was quite a simple lighting rig, and a stand mic (A/V tech was Bob White).

The sensitive accompaniment came from Tom New on keyboard.

        Chewing gum, Amy (Ashleigh Kreveld) swaggered from the back of the room, weaving between the tables to the stage. She did not smile but almost glowered, however, once on the stage she warmed to the welcoming applause.

       Amy starts to tell us in her broad Cockney accent of her early years with her parents, her school years and how she started singing. With a strong interest in Sarah Vaughan’s records and having an Aunt who was shacking up with iconic jazz club owner, Ronnie Scott, she had her future laid out.

     Amy purred and rasped her way through quite a few of the numbers that we all love.

     The intimate disclosure of her tormented inner feelings, were fed to the audience as though she was talking to a close friend, but one was left wondering, how many close friends did Ms Winehouse actually have? For most of her life she seemed lonely, vulnerable and lost, and yet we still were shown the amount of warmth and love bottled up in the mind of this legend.

      She even talked to us from the grave, as we learned of her various love affairs and of the one that really mattered.

 

Amy Winehouse was one of those highly talented people that dramatically divided the population. If I dare mention Susan Boyle in the same paragraph, they both have a large percentage of detesters; and yet, if anyone hears one of their tracks, without prejudicially knowing who is singing, they will inevitably ask ‘who is the wonderful singer?’

Rebellious Amy, of course, deliberately invited the disgust of some of the older generation, who did not see her as a stylish young lady, but more off a tasteless tramp – an image that she took years to develop.

Ashleigh has captured perfectly the intonation and unique qualities of Amy’s deep voice. She sang with Amy’s sultry look, and an amazing accuracy of the style and powerful delivery.

Beautiful Ashleigh has gone to a great deal of effort to copy not only Amy’s outfits, beehive and tatts, but also her deteriorating mental state.

Whatever one thinks of Amy’s lifestyle, her contralto voice was a treasure lost too soon.

A very well poignantly observed life of Amy, presented by Ashleigh without the schmaltz, but with a genuine heartfelt passion for her divine music.

Not surprisingly, one of the Festival’s most sought-after shows.