Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

21/10/2014 - 25/10/2014

Production Details


Three women and a diverse mix of music are brought together in an intimate environment to compare notes of Lust, Love, Loss and ultimately Life. If I Only Had A Heart is a 90-minute eclectic mash-up of live music performed in an intimate cabaret setting. A connected journey of songs, experiences and situations in a devised and cozy experience challenging the way we view music theatre material. 

Director, Aaron Tindell (The Red Chair, Q Theatre, 2012) carefully weaves an unexpected mix of words and music. Regular visits to New York, the cabaret venue: 54 Below and an inspirational Eartha Kitt experience, Aaron is amazed by the power of music and song, whilst introducing and supporting talented Auckland performers. “Our aim is to tell stories through song with just enough theatrics to drive a point home”.  

If I Only Had A Heart shows off the amazing talents of three kiwi vocal artists. Each with notable credits and big futures ahead:

Jessie Cassin – Professional singer/songwriter, Jessie has worked extensively in professional Auckland bands and Ensembles, Musical Theatre & Opera – Jessie Cassin (YouTube). Along with If I Only Had A Heart Jessie is currently working on the release of her debut EP Kin which will be commercially available this November 2014.

Rebecca Wright – Rebecca is a professional singer and trained dancer, graduated with a Master of Arts (Education, Dance and Popular Music) in 2009 and has had vocal training in the UK. Rebecca’s credits include the principle role of Pearl in the New Zealand tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight ExpressRebecca Wright (YouTube) in 2009, Mimi in Rent and the title role of “Cinderella”, both at the Civic Theatre in Auckland 2010.

Cherie Moore – Cherie has a degree in Drama and English from The University of Auckland, is a graduate of The Actors’ Program, and is the Co-Director of Last Tapes Theatre Company. Cherie’s credits include The Last Five Years directed by Jennifer Ward-Lealand; Madam Gutman in Camino Real, and recently VERBATIM.She recently vocal coached and Co-Produced the sell-out season of Earnest at Q Theatre.

DIONYSOS are back and ready to wow audiences once again with a style of cabaret rarely seen here in New Zealand, taking audiences on a journey of music and lyrics. Relax in an intimate cabaret atmosphere and immerse yourself in a unique live music experience.

21st – 25th October 2014 @ 8pm – 5 Shows Only!
The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland City- www.basementtheatre.co.nz 
Tickets: $25 Adult , $20 Concession
Book now at iTICKET – www.iticket.co.nz 

Show duration: 90 minutes

1hr 30mins (no interval)

Almost offensively safe

Review by Dione Joseph 22nd Oct 2014

Cabaret has experienced a revival over the past ten years across the globe. And let’s be honest, that’s yesterday’s news. Intelligence, wit and humour are now seamlessly woven through story, song and dance to illuminate the inherent theatricality of this highly subversive genre which is no longer the lesser companion to quality theatrical performances. 

At its best, cabaret puts the ‘adult’ back into ‘adult entertainment’ and does so with a sense of élan. History is replete with brilliant resources from British Vaudeville through highly polished French erotica to burlesque and belly dancing rituals and plenty more.

At the top of their game are cabaret performances that are inclusive of LGBT punters, use multiple languages and most importantly have a range of diverse acts that create a space for the bodies on stage – not to be consumed by lecherous eye culture but which actively, defiantly and unashamedly return the voyeurs’ gaze. Cabaret is, at its voluptuous heart, focused on not merely defying, but completely annihilating the cumulative stereotypes of the ages.

Having mulled over what it possibly could have been in regards to the current standards of performance-making, then, I am very disappointed with last night’s production of If I Only Had a Heart. 

Red and black seem to be the colours of the night and while the set is adequate (nothing brilliantly imaginative but vaguely sufficient), the opening outfits of our three songstresses in beautiful lingerie seemed to do little more than offer an advertisement for their sponsor and some weak titillation for the front row. As the hour-long production proceeds they adorn themselves with various other layers, so bland that they do nothing to support the various characters they are attempting to create on stage.

A few feeble attempts at raunchiness (aimed almost exclusively at one individual in the front row) doesn’t quite raise the sex appeal or scandal-o-meter to any mind-blowing heights and the little choreography included is less than average. It may also just be opening night nerves but as a group there seems to be a distinct absence of comraderie during the night and an obvious lack of team showmanship for the ensemble pieces.  

This was all a real pity because the voices of Rebecca Wright, Cherie Moore and Jessie Cassin are very good. Moore in particular is exceptional in her vocal consistency and Wright’s later song choices allow her innate fire to come to the fore.

On the whole all three have made excellent solo song choices and are supported by skilled musicians including Sam Jury, Sung Jin Hong and Robert Picot.

But the collection of mostly forlorn love songs are given hardly any curation. It’s a mish-mash of sentiment; highs and lows that swing from oldies like ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy’and ‘Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart’ to recent favourites such as ‘Hold Me in Your Heart’and ‘My Crazy Heart’. If there was ever any doubt, the recurrence of that vital organ in every song seems to have been the sole unifier of the night, dictating a musical menu that is less than inspirational.

If I Only Had A Heart could have been excellent. There isn’t any doubt that all three performers have powerful vocal instruments and potentially strong personalities to match. But within the rather conservative and almost offensively safe space, there really is nothing new in this scenario for anyone to sit up and take notice. A sleepy evening of crooning love songs with a few jazz elements thrown in for good measure but cabaret this is not.


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Affairs of the Heart

Review by James Wenley 22nd Oct 2014

Glancing down the program for If I Only Had a Heart, you might think that director Aaron Tindell compiled this cabaret show’s song list by typing “heart” in his iTunes search bar. Each song has “heart” somewhere in the title, helpfully bolded in red. It’s a mix of Broadway tunes that only the most dedicated musical theatre fan would have heard of, like ‘Listen to Your Heart’ from Young Frankenstein, to some more familiar hits like ‘Heart of Glass’ and ‘Anyone who had a Heart’. The oldest is 1927’s ‘Stout-hearted Man’ and the newest 2012’s ‘Never Give all your Heart’ from TV’s bombshell Smash, and Cindy Lauper’s ‘Hold Me in Your Heart’ from the musical Kinky Boots.

It soon becomes apparent just how carefully Tindell has programmed the songs to speak to one another and take up different positions, surmounting the initial gimmick. This is helped considerably by the interpretative talent of performers Jessie Cassin, Cherie Moore, and Rebecca Wright. Individually they play to their strengths – Wright excels in expressing pain and vulnerability, Moore is a playful seen-it-all before storyteller, and Cassin is at turns petulant and optimistic – and each get multiple showstoppers. As a trio, they are a divine harmonising powerhouse. [More


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