Expressivo (Reviews)

Exquisite: An evening with Mama Alto

Gender-transcendent diva Mama Alto is a class act. Ever so natural in the limelight, Mama weaves in and out of some truly beautiful jazz and pop standards with a sophisticated flair for audience interaction.

Mama creates and produces her own shows and by her own admission chooses the set list minutes before stepping on stage, much to the bewilderment of her musical director William Elm.

Mama Alto | photo by Alexis Desaulniers-Lea

“My shows are never scripted.”

– Mama Alto

Mama’s talent has been acknowledged in Adelaide, Sydney, and Melbourne through awards such as the Arts Access Victoria Outstanding Access & Inclusion Award (2016), Globe LGBTI’s Artist of the Year Award (2017), and Best Actress in a Play in the Broadway World Sydney Awards (2017).

A queen of the cabaret art form and veteran of the national festival circuit, Mama delighted her audience with witty banter and articulate storytelling that drew the viewers in; a segue into a beautifully-sung tune.

Mama delivered renditions of timeless classics such as ‘The Nearness of You’ and ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’. Her voice was impressive and she handled the range and nuances of each tune with sincerity and charm. She spoke of music with a poetry rarely heard nowadays and it was clear that she truly loved to sing songs from the heart.

With such a versatile voice, Mama may consider some uptempo numbers in future seasons of Exquisite for contrast, and more jazz colouring in the piano accompaniment would do her singing justice.

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Reviewed performance: Saturday 23 February 2019
Venue: Gluttony – Masonic Lodge: Phoenix Room
Season: Closed

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