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Travelin' Through: Broken Toys @CervantesTheatr

Things are a bit different at the Cervantes Theatre when you see Broken Toys. You enter through the upstairs dressing rooms and go down to the theatre. It is a circuitous route, much like the story of Marion. You end up in the same place but have taken a different journey. And like what the old prostitute said. It's not the work but the stairs. And there before you is the theatre, but not entirely as I recall it. It feels like an intimate cabaret venue with tables and a shiny stage. And there we are introduced to Marion. Marion grew up in a small town during the Franco regime. A place where looking a bit different could make you the subject of gossip and a threat to your life. And despite being assigned male at birth and the attempts of family and father figures, she was an outsider in her town.  And so Marion sets off on a journey to the city. And in the shadows, she finds a place to hide. But with guidance from drag performer Dorian Delacroix begins to find her voice. Her journe

Music: Caroline O'Connor

Continuing a season of performers in their prime that have seen Wonder Woman and others grace the West End, it could also be known as "Old broads at the Garrick", I caught the second night of Caroline O'Connor with Johnnyfox and others. Caroline O'Connor, while being world famous in Australia, has also been in a number of West End productions, including the ENO's production of On the Town and Bombshells. This time around it is her on stage with a terrific band and some real nice young dancers. Its a bit cabaret and a bit performance and all brass class.

I realised it has now been ten years since I first saw Caroline O'Connor and she doesn't seem to have changed much at all... She still looks and moves pretty well and still sounds good (if you overlook those occasionally suspect high notes), and is full of such energy and life you can't help but enjoy watching her perform.

In the first half of her show she talked about life growing up in Australia and learning all she could from movie musicals. There was a great film montage of her playing leading ladies from a series of famous movies before breaking into a couple of songs from Mack and Mabel. She also did a great rendition of Zing Went the Strings of My Heart. There were some great jokes and she sent us off to the bar interval on a high.

The second half tended to get a bit bogged down with a set of songs from Cabaret, a rendition of Piaf that threatened to send the audience home with industrial deafness and songs that I couldn't care much about. By the end it felt like an over extended audition rather than a performance. While I love her interpretation of some of these songs, it seems a bit of a shame to exclude music from this century in the set. Maybe the secret to these shows is for them to be ninety minutes without an interval, keeping it short and sharp. It might be also a good idea to throw in a few songs nobody has heard (or can remember) to give it a bit of edge. And next time give O'Connor a venue where she doesn't need a microphone... Actually I'm sure she didn't need it this time either... It runs through this week... Worth going, but bring some earplugs..

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