Review | Gavin Nicklette celebrates the female voices of pop

Gavin Nicklette: That’s What She Said | Little Creatures Next Door | Feb 11th | ★ ★ ★ ¾

I’m exhausted – I’m fresh off my first ever divorce party. Unsure of the etiquette surrounding the event, I join in with the others and we drink. And we keep drinking. Then suddenly it’s Sunday – my car’s in Rockingham, I’m in Perth, the show’s in Fremantle and I’m feeling less than great. No part of me is looking forward to this show. I’m hardly the biggest jazz fan and in my state the thought of joining the buzzing crowd for two hours is nauseating. Yet, suddenly the show’s over and I’m a changed man. I leave feeling cheerful, relaxed and decidedly wholesome.

In this first-time show, Gavin Nicklette takes some of the best female pop songs and transforms them into fun little jazz pieces. The show stays fresh, with renditions of songs from a variety of artists such as Missy Higgins, Madonna, TLC, Beyonce and Sia. The constant cycling of guest performers on and off the stage, interspersed with Nicklette’s delightfully charming banter, leaves each song a new experience of its own.

But why these songs, why just females? Nicklette asks us to consider how our interpretation of the songs and their singers change when boys sing ‘girls’ songs’. Whether he achieves this goal is up to you to decide. I was excited by the question, but it seems to be that the answer is intended to be implicitly figured out from watching the performance. While I personally didn’t walk away with any revelatory thoughts, I can see how this (combined with some excellent flamboyant costuming) could challenge some in the community.

Sure, there are small kinks to iron out – at times the vocals were a tad shaky and occasionally I couldn’t hear Nicklette over the instruments. A perfect show doesn’t exist, but there are so many moments that shine through and whip the crowd up. Impressive piano solos, passionate ballads and interesting stories kept us all glued to the stage for the full two hours.

There’s something absolutely charming about this whole show and Gavin Nicklette is at the heart of it. I didn’t come in feeling great, but I left feeling like I’d spent two hours being hugged by my nana while playing with a puppy. Or something delightful like that…

That’s What She Said has one more performance on Sunday February 11th. For tickets and more info head to fringeworld.com.au

Craig Campbell


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