[AUSTRALIA ~ WORLD PREMIERE]
Space Theatre, Fri 15 Jun.
Sydney’s Queen of the underworld in the first half of the 20th Century, Kate Leigh, is a fascinating character for Libby O’Donovan to present for the 2018 Adelaide Cabaret Festival. With all original music and lyrics, this will hopefully be a springboard for presenting this show around the world.
Many may recall some of the story of Kate Leigh from the Channel 9 2011 series Underbelly: Razor, with Kate Leigh played by Danielle Cormack and Tilly Devine by Chelsie Preston Crayford as notorious gang leaders in the 1920s and 1930s in Sydney. Over her life Kate Leigh clocked up 107 criminal convictions, 13 stints in gaol, was a grog dealer and purveyor of cocaine, but was regularly portrayed in the media at times as an upstanding citizen with an intriguing life. Kate Leigh was full of grasping opportunities and she was the CEO of the only domain women could be leaders at that time.
There were distinctive highs and lows of Kate Leigh’s life and Libby O’Donovan presented these with just the right amount of excitement, cheekiness or despondency. O’Donovan has a commanding and powerful voice, which importantly when most of the story is told in the songs, was crystal clear.
Huge congratulations must go to O’Donovan for the epic task of writing the lyrics and music, especially songs Snowing Sydney, Mum’s Got The Grog and Not The Worst Woman In Sydney Town”. Tonight, she was joined on stage by proficient musicians on piano, double bass and trumpet, which gave the right amount of punch needed alongside her voice. There was also a big hometown cheer when O’Donovan was briefly joined on stage by her wife Beccy Cole playing Tilly Devine.
There could be some minor tightening of the story and changes to hair and costume, but these are minor blemishes in what was an otherwise brilliant show. A show that needs to be seen around Australia and the World!
Libby O’Donovan: Kate Leigh – The Worst Woman in Sydney continues at Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, at various times, until Sun 17 Jun.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.