From the moment Ashleigh Kreveld strutted in, booze in hand, with the sheer sass of a diva, it was evident the audience were in for a bittersweet treat of an evening.

With the delicate balance between cheeky banter and fragile monologues, this Fringe Festival newcomer had every patron downstairs at the Butterfly Club immediately intrigued. Her representation of Winehouse clearly demonstrated her knowledge and passion for the character she was presenting with a glimmer of her own unique flare.

The stage was minimal and the lighting design was simplistic and understated which created an intimate setting in order to be fully engrossed by the soulful nature of this performance. Initially I had my doubts as to how informative this show would be rather than expressive of the character but I was greatly proven wrong through the initial exploration of Amy and her relationship with jazz. The use of music by Billie Holiday was perfectly placed amongst well known songs such as ‘Valerie’, ‘Back to Black’, ‘Rehab’ and ‘F*ck Me Pumps’.

Throughout the show, one could not help but notice the subtle vulnerability that Kreveld demonstrated through Amy. Despite laughing along with her one could not help but be aware of the tragic subject matter. This created a consuming yet ephemeral tension within the room. As the audience spiraled down through brilliant portrayals of damage and addiction with Kreveld’s characterization, one could not help but empathize with the suffering yet be in complete awe of such an icon.

A distinct moment within the formed narrative was when the character of Amy explained the forced nature behind her European tour. In that moment, just before the distinct instance of her behaving intoxicated on stage to the point of stumbling, she had fully encapsulated everyone with the perfect use of silence. This smoky atmosphere that was present was constantly reinforced through her exploration of Amy’s desire for her ‘Blakey’ which gave everyone a clear insight into the dark thoughts of one’s addictive behaviours.

Despite the placement of her hair extensions sometimes being seen as quite distracting, Kreveld’s personality shined through perfectly with clever moments of improvisation towards the end. This had the whole audience laughing at Amy’s rawness as she was showing all her emotions and still being able to make gags which was a true and intriguing portrayal of the character.

Overall, the narrative and characterization created by Kreveld is one not to be missed. A perfect cabaret, beautifully sung, that will have you laughing nervously in your seats as this performer exposes all. I look forward to seeing Ashley Kreveld’s cabaret projects in the future as her unique portrayal and personality was demonstrated well and deserves to be shown beyond a character.

 

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