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REVIEW: Backseat Diamond is murderous fun

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Backseat Diamond | Casa Mondo, Pleasure Gardens | Until Jan 27

★ ★ ★

The Casa Mondo theatre is set to host soul-singing trio The Diamonds and the audience is ready for show – but only one of the girls appears. Mary, tired of being relegated to the upstage microphone for being “too goddamn white” has no intention of letting her fans down. It her time to take the spotlight, but how she got there seems suspicious.

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The premise of Backseat Diamond is innovative, a long-time backing singer has aspirations of stardom and the audience is privy to the beginning of her vengeful coup de grace. Creator Megan Kozak’s character Mary reveals her bandmates have “fallen ill”, and after a series of revelations throughout the performance – it is revealed she may be a teensy bit responsible.

The short segues between songs had the audience in stitches, as Mary banters with her suspicious yet largely apathetic keyboardist. Mary’s failing mental state and proclivity to sneak a song into almost every conversation she has made for some good laughs. Mary’s security guard is later introduced, which leads to an unexpected romantic story arc. The guard’s voice wavered next to the strength of Mary’s talent – but hey, it’s her time to be in the spotlight.

Writer Kozak has a beautiful voice and her WAAPA training resounds through her talent. Kozak elicted thunderous applause after every number, including her renditions of Motown classics, and Oz-Rock duets with security guard Chris (complete with as many Barnes/Farnham song title puns you can poke a stick at). Kozak’s character jokes that she is “too goddamn white” to front The Diamonds, and at times I found I wasn’t being sold the soul of the legends like Aretha – though her rendition of ‘And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going’ from ‘Dreamgirls’ was powerful, and set the crowd to their feet.

Backseat Diamond is staple Fringe fare; fun, camp, loaded with talent and hey, maybe not for everyone, but Mary’s not going to let you put this show back in the corner.

Backseat Diamond is at Casa Mondo in the Pleasure Gardens from Sunday 24th – Wednesday 27th January. Tickets available from Fringeworld.com.au

Leigh Hill

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