Steven Kreamer is no stranger to the stage at the Hayes, having chalked up a host of performing credits at Sydney’s top venue for independent music theatre. Ordinarily, however, his work is with the band. A Sydney-based musician, composer and performer, he’s served as musical director and associate musical director on a number of productions including Evie May, She Loves Me, Assassins, Little Shop of Horrors, Rent and Side Show.
For his self-penned cabaret I Sing Songs, Kreamer emerges from the shadows to take centre stage with his piano. Across one hour, he offers audiences the chance to gain an insight into his writing and performing career, and some of the moments along the way that have inspired him as a composer. Some of his original compositions focus on lighter times – “Running late” was written as an expression of frustration at an ex-partner’s perpetual lack of punctuality – while another number conserves his feelings at the height of a romantic relationship that has since ended. There’s also a recollection of the time Kreamer was tasked with writing a song for a well-known US marketing giant, with the instruction its sound be in the vein of Frank Sinatra.
Kreamer’s work is smartly written and easy to enjoy, affording his audience a glimpse of the extent of his talent, as well as his affability. We are privy to his good sense of humour, hints of his humility and an ability to laugh at himself. There are also moments of homage to the music theatre canon. One of the night’s standout moments is Kreamer’s unique take on The Sound of Music’s ‘Sixteen going on seventeen’, the catalyst for which was contemplation of how it would sound if it took its inspiration from early 20th century composer Kurt Weill. Accompanied only by his accordion, Kreamer amuses with his inventive rendering of a classic.
There’s possibly some room to expand with respect to the storytelling. We’re left with no doubt as to Kreamer’s skills as a composer or his impressive CV, but there’s an opportunity to add to the stories told to share a greater snapshot of the experiences that have led him to this point in time and shaped the trajectory of his theatrical career.
That said, Kreamer’s debut cabaret offering is a solid hour of musical entertainment that exposes its talented writer and performer as a man who’s actually much more than a singer of songs.