Nightsongs is an array of wonderfully constructed songs that meditate on life and lull us into contemplating all about our very own.
Natasha Moszenin performs sixteen of her compositions as she sits enthusiastically at her keyboard and conveys sheer delight playing her accomplished work for her audience. She shares the stage with her three singers, Lara Vocisano, Claire Nicholls and Jai Luke. Together the four successfully execute the songs effortlessly and with great style. It is a show full of humour, insight and just plain good singing.
Wearing all black and standing in a row together downstage, the singers perform Moszenin’s intriguing array of lyrical songs. Each song is treated with care and respect by the three singers. They do not move much from their spots for the entire 65 minutes. A simple gesture here or a head lowered there is the only choreography apart from the last two very comical songs that incorporate much more animated facial and body moves.
It is a credit to Moszenin who truly evokes, for most of us, that middle of the night moment when we may have awoken from sleep only to find ourselves in the grip of some panicked thinking, or a feeling of helplessness as we face an insurmountable problem or realizing how heavy our hearts have become over a love lost.
Moszenin’s songs cover a huge amount of topics. My favourites included ‘Hello Anxiety’ which is self-explanatory. ‘I would Rather be Blind’ which centres around a life spiralling out focus and the determination not allow it to spiral further. ‘Detox Queen’ was a hilarious tale of a person moving from a life of partying to a much-needed clean eating regimen and then back again. There were also poignant songs about losing a lover, immigration, memory and melancholy.
The evening has been dubbed as a meditative song cycle about the interior of our hearts and souls and this performance truly does invite us to explore our thoughts and feelings. There is very little thematic thread to the evening’s songs which may puzzle few patrons; it is best to just run with the constant stream of song composition. The songs may trigger good memories that bring a smile to your face, forgotten emotions you perhaps once carried around when younger and lots of laughter.
The songs move from upbeat, to soulful to pure camp. Most of them have that dreamlike quality; again the idea of night, of waking in the middle of the night and being overtaken by what the brain is processing or what your heart is trying to grapple with is the thrill of this piece.
Luke sells his songs with his eyes and standing between the other two female performers, he commands attention and engages the audience with ease. Nicholls’ voice was compelling and her voice conveyed the gamut of emotions required of her during her solos. Her strong and sustain high voltage notes were exciting to listen to. Vocisano was excellent with her soft, melancholic numbers; her bossy blonde hair belies her array of sensitive characters.
The lighting design was pivotal in creating the mood for the piece. The stage ranged from a blue hue to a darker grey and back to bright white. Designer, Kate Kelly, brought colour and movement to the small acting space with small units of coloured LED lighting evenly placed on the lighting rig above the three performers. The simple use of a warm white spot for each of the singers captured their faces clearly and was all that was needed to set the vibe overall.
Spending time with these performers is rewarding. They manage to allow feelings and sensations to rise within you due to their measured and sincere personas. If you desire an evening of excellent jazz singing and an array of songs that depict the trials and tribulations of modern life, then Nightsongs will not leave you unsatisfied.