Blondini's Bar, Embassy Theatre, Wellington

26/02/2015 - 28/02/2015

NZ Fringe Festival 2015 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details

From “Sophisticated Sinner” to “27”, followed by a Jazz Festival season at BATS – it seemed obvious where Karen and Her Fellow Sinners needed to venture next – Bond songs. 

After 24 movies, James Bond has spawned a huge following, and just as importantly to Karen, some classic songs.  “Sean Connery and Daniel Craig are my favourite Bonds.  Then there’s Shirley Bassey – that voice and those songs are as ‘007’ as sipping a martini in an Aston Martin parked in front of a casino.” 

Those iconic songs include Diamonds Are Forever, Moonraker, Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – and of course – Goldfinger. 

There are also contributions from Wings, Lulu, Duran Duran, Nancy Sinatra, Louis Armstrong– the list is long.  “We won’t be doing all of them of course – just because they were in a Bond film doesn’t mean they were good.  Let’s not forget Madonna’s effort – even though I try to.  She’s not on the playlist.”

The sinners are enjoying a new line up this time around.  “We have some brass.  You can’t do Bond without brass.”  Musical direction is being provided by Josh Hopton-Stewart, an up and coming writer and director in the musical world.  “Our last project together was Titus Andronicus – that’s Shakespeare, not a musical,” Karen laughs.  “This will be a completely different challenge!

As part of the line up in the 2015 Fringe Festival, Double O Sinner promises a journey through the great themes of James Bond, a dash of trivia and a touch of sassy Bassey.  Which would you rather be – shaken or stirred?

Blondini’s at The Embassy
26–28 Feb, 8.45pm 5-7 March
Tickets: $19/15/13

Could be fantastic

Review by Maraea Rakuraku 27th Feb 2015

There is something about men in tuxedos, a dress so beautifully constructed it’s like your body is poured into it, a shimmering and a glittering gold backdrop in an intimate space, that immediately puts you in the mood for lounge music and days of yesteryear; where women were goddesses and men were, well, manly. Quite.

If this sounds a little, ahem, like the backdrop to the Ian Fleming created James Bond 007 character, then you’ve hit on the premise of – Double O Sinner.

The Sinner, Karen Anslow, sashays through a series of 007 theme songs supported by impressive musicianship provided by Natalie Hunt, Nick Price, Sam Rorke and Geraint Scott. In between, there is banter about the movies, the actors, the writer and any other kind of 007 trivia. I am surprised at my own random knowledge, not being a fan – though if the Idris Elba rumours are true, I am. So there.

Anslow knows how to tell a story, hold a punchline and keep an audience interested.  And she’s funny. But even the best showmanship and the musicianship can’t detract from her tendency to sing flat. When she busts it out, she is great and her love for performance is obvious. She totally owns it and I have nothing but admiration for someone who gets up and does that. And for the musicians who between them play up to 11 instruments each! The sax in Goldfinger (Geraint Scott), the guitar (Nick Price) and cello (Natalie Hunt) in You Only Live Twice and the violin in Skyfall (Sam Rorke)really make me appreciate the structure of those songs that I’d never really considered before. 

There are little details that add to the ambience – pokerchips and dice on the tables – and then there’s the dress that has me dazzled at hello, made by producer Cara Louise Waretini. 

I want to like this more. I really do. It may have been nerves, though, that fly in the face of the showmanship. Hell, it may even be the space and the acoustics. Whatever it is, if the vocals equalled the showmanship and musicality, this could be fantastic.


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