Hayes Theatre Co, September 21
Joanna Weinberg’s new cabaret show Baroness Bianka’s Bloodsongs takes a quirky idea about addiction and really runs with it.
She has created a character from a fictional Eastern European country, with a thick accent to match, who has had a yen for blood ever since her detested nanny met an unfortunate, squishy end.
She doesn’t drink it like your common-or-garden vampire, but she can sniff out someone’s blood group at hundred paces, likes to bathe in it and finds sex boring without it. She works as a nurse for obvious reasons. A black comedy with a blood-red heart, the show explores her life with this unusual addiction and her battle to overcome it.
Weinberg performs original songs alongside numbers like Tom Lehrer’s The Masochism Tango and Queen’s Killer Queen. She has a lovely voice and plays the accordion for most of the numbers, with an occasional sortie to keyboard and drums, while Mark Ginsburg plays soprano sax, guitar and, at one point, a knife and knife sharpener.
Though the melodies and lyrics of the first few numbers are catchy and clever, musically it becomes a bit samey and not many of the songs are terribly memorable. Weinberg could have made more of The Masochism Tango, for example, which she performs seated and in a similar manner to the other songs.
Weinberg is a talented comic performer, and the character she creates is vividly realised and engaging. However, the story didn’t hold my interest for that length of time (it runs an hour and a quarter).
Directed by Lisa Freshwater, the show unfolds at a similar pitch and in a similar vein throughout, then rather peters out at the end. It’s a fun idea but a bit more dramatic light and shade and some bigger laughs wouldn’t go astray.
Baroness Bianka’s Bloodsongs plays at the Hayes Theatre Co on Sunday September 28. Bookings: www.hayestheatre.com.au or 02 8065 7337