REVIEWER RATING: ★★★.5
Daniel and Chiara Assetta are passionate performers and have been so all of their lives.
Daniel, the older of the siblings, is a graduate of Sydney performing arts academy ED5 International. His credits include the role of Elder Young in The Book of Mormon and Rum Tum Tugger in the recent Australian and New Zealand tour of Cats and, in 2015, he was the winner of the prestigious and fiercely contested Rob Guest Endowment Award.
Chiara Assetta is similarly an ED5 International graduate, whose numerous performing credits include the musical adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens and the role of Bride of Frankenstein in the Monsters live show at Universal Studios Japan. On TV, she has appeared in Dance Academy, danced with Kelly Rowland on So you think you can dance and performed as a backing vocalist for Delta Goodrem on The Voice Australia and The Footy Show. She also appeared on X Factor Australia as part of girl group ‘Mosaic’.
Both Daniel and Chiara have spent considerable time in 2019 performing in West Side Story, but in separate productions – Daniel has been performing the role of Moose (and alternating in the role of Tony) in GWB Entertainment’s touring production, while Chiara made her professional musical theatre debut as Teresita in the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour production.
This week, Daniel and Chiara unveiled the cabaret show, Siblingship, for Sydney audiences at Hayes Theatre Co (next week, they’re heading to Melbourne’s Chapel off Chapel). Co-written by the pair and Tobias Madden and directed by Scott Irwin and Danielle Barnes, the show is a look back on the performing lives of the pair, who grew up in a close Italian family in Eagle Vale in the south-west of Sydney. They were regulars on the local talent quest circuit and became accustomed to taking top honours. Opening the show, Daniel and Chiara recreate one talent show rendition of Ike and Tina Turner’s ‘River Deep – Mountain High’, complete with cheesy dance moves and (as we’re told was typically the case) Chiara hidden behind Daniel for the first two minutes.
Over one hour, the two share their memories of growing up and turning their childhood love of performing into careers. There’s a (short-lived) dramatic breakup of the performing duo when the abovementioned talent quest performance doesn’t result in the expected outcome, there are secrets shared between the siblings, and there’s consistently a palpable sense of the great affection the pair have for each other.
Musically, an assortment of tracks from the pop and musical theatre genres are included, from Velma Kelly’s act of desperation, ‘I can’t do it alone’, from Chicago, to Michael Jackson’s and Janet Jackson’s angry 1995 duet ‘Scream’, to Nine The Musical’s ‘Be Italian’. There’s Daniel’s performance of ‘A little bit’ from American musical Crazy, Just Like Me and the twosome’s duet on Smash favourite ‘Let me be your star’. Home video footage is incorporated throughout the show.
Perhaps, the most amusing part of proceedings is the Assettas’ recollection of invitations to perform at various family events as children and having to choose a duet from a list of songs with lyrics that should never be sung to one another by siblings. It offers the evening’s best laugh-out-loud moments.
Each number is well performed by the two seasoned performers who, it’s clear, have honed their skills over an extended period. Daniel is a dynamic performer who delivers fine vocals, is polished and self-assured. Chiara is also in good voice, and her conviviality and good sense of humour are apparent from the outset. So, too is her agility as a dancer. Their strong chemistry when performing together is expected, but their wonderful harmonies are a bonus.
A story of two people growing up in the same household with a shared determination for a life on the stage, Siblingship is an entertaining theatrical presentation by siblings who seem to have it figured out, striving individually for the prize without it compromising their support for each other.
Photo credit: David Hooley
SIBLINGSHIP – MELBOURNE SEASON DETAILS