The Jade Monkey, Wed 17 Feb
It’s fortunate that Deborah Brennan fell in love with the music of Joni Mitchell as a teenager – that’s allowed her a long time to internalise the soul and spirit of the Canadian folk singer. And she’s done a remarkable job of reproducing her individual and idiosyncratic vocal style. Some might criticise the fact that she stayed so close to the original vocal arrangements, but in concert with her capable backing band it felt like their music and it was quite infectious.
Mastering the vocal techniques required to adequately sing Joni Mitchell is one thing, but being able to convey the emotion embodied within the songs is what made this performance so good. By the time Brennan got to You Turn Me On I’m A Radio I had stopped comparing her to Joni Mitchell and was just moved by her own interpretations and depth of feeling. Beautiful to watch and beautiful to listen to.
The show included many of Mitchell’s better known songs. If I had to select one as the show’s highlight it was probably the title track – A Case Of You.
Deborah Brennan was initially attracted to Mitchell because she sang of the tension between wanting to travel and being homesick when away from home (Urge For Going), and because she sang from the perspective of a woman – a rarity back in the male dominated ‘70s.
Kudos to her for not tugging on the emotional heart strings and not mentioning that Joni Mitchell is currently learning to talk again as a result of a massive stroke. It would have been an easy card to play but they didn’t need it. They focused instead on the impressive body of work of an extraordinary artist, and did a fantastic job of conveying that artistry to a contemporary audience. Really well done.
A Case Of You: The Music Of Joni Mitchell continues at various locations and times until Wed 24 Feb.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.