Auckland Town Hall, Auckland

02/09/2015 - 02/09/2015

Auckland Live International Cabaret Season 2015

Production Details

For Auckland International Cabaret Season’s gala opening, Lady Sings the Blues, the sell out hit of Auckland Arts Festival, returns for one extraordinary night only.
Aotearoa’s finest singers, Ladi6, Julia Deans, Hollie Smith, Annie Crummer, Whirimako Black, Ria Hall and special guest Camille O’Sullivan, will celebrate the blues and the songs of Billie Holiday – music that continues to shape generations. Join us and discover what made Billie Holiday the legendary Lady Day.
…listening to Deans…was a transformative experience, which is the highest praise I can give.
Lumiere Reader, reviewing Julia Deans.
Download the full Cabaret Season schedule here.

Running Times
85 – 90 minutes – no interval
Times are approximate

Ticket Prices
Premium – $85.00*
Premium Table (6 seats) – $500.00*

Premium Elite Experience $602.00* (only four tables available)

A Reserve – $79.00*
A Reserve Concession – $75.00*
B Reserve $74.00*
B Reserve Concession – $70.00*
C Reserve – $69.00*

The Auckland International Cabaret Season has introduced a new exclusive cabaret experience for a truly glamorous night out. Purchase the very best tables* at cabaret shows of your choice at the Auckland Town Hall and receive a Premium Elite experience. The experience includes entry into an exclusive lounge, a glass of bubbles and nibbles on arrival, and you will be personally ushered to your seats just prior to the show. 
There are an extremely limited number of Premium Elite Tables available for purchase. Secure yours now.

*Service fees apply. Premium Elite price only available for tables of six.

Cabaret ,

90 mins no interval

A class act

Review by Kathryn van Beek 03rd Sep 2015

The Auckland International Cabaret Season kicked off with the tour de force that was Lady Sings the Blues – a tribute to Billie Holiday and the legacy she left behind.

From the moment our flapper-styled ushers took our tickets and led us into the glamorous surroundings of the Great Hall, we knew we were in for something special. The ornate plasterwork, pressed metal ceilings, the buzz in the air from the full house, and the suited musicians on stage, all set the scene for the evening of timeless elegance that was to come.

The lights dimmed and Ladi6 took the stage. Dressed in a white gown and with a white gardenia in her hair, she opened the evening with Lady Sings The Blues and transported us through time and space to 1930s America.  

Next up was Whirimako Black with Good Morning Heartache. Whirimako sang with the grace of someone who is quietly confident that she’s knocking it out of the park – which she was. Julia Deans followed with Everything Happens to Me, a sweet and petulant song that was played up to humorous effect.

Next Annie Crummer proved how low she could go with Lover Man, switching from a smoky lower register to an emotive high register and back again with ease. Ria Hall then sang I Cover The Waterfont with effortless elegance.

All the way from Ireland, international guest Camille O’Sullivan took the spotlight to perform Gloomy Sunday and In My Solitude. Her striking voice with its spiky edges and seductive hollows suited the material perfectly. Camille made bold choices with her interpretations of the songs, and there were times when the words dropped from her lips and hung in the air as though they weren’t going to land – until they parachuted back down over the music perfectly.   

Camille upped the ante but our local songbirds spent the second half of the evening upping it even further. Annie delivered a high-energy, hilariously unhinged version of Them There Eyes, Whirimako took a chic take on Crazy He Calls Me and Julia performed a fantastically rock n roll version of Don’t Explain that channelled Portishead and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

Next the force of nature that is Hollie Smith delivered Nina Simone’s Do I Move You with the ferocity of a caged tiger, before Ria returned for an unabashedly sexy, full-throttle version of Blues In The Night.

The show-stopping number of the evening came from Ladi6, who performed an outstanding version of Strange Fruit that left us feeling as though we’d just witnessed the scene at the poplar trees ourselves. The power of the words and the emotion of her voice added up to a truly transcendent moment.

To finish the evening Hollie returned with God Bless The Child, an emotion explosion where the clarity of the words was secondary to the power of the expression – but it didn’t really matter.  

Throughout the evening MC Waimihi Hotere did a fabulous job of introducing the singers and treating the audience to insights into the life and times of Lady Day.

With the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, the jewellery dripping from the performers and the sequins sparkling in the light, it was a glamorous evening – and a class act, thanks to the first-rate talent of the musicians and singers.  


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council