Review by Matthew Hocter
I have been out of Australia for a long time. Seven years to be precise. I’m also not the greatest when it comes to Australian reality TV shows. That’s not an elitist thing, it’s just not a “me” thing. Given this, I do remember Amity Dry and the hype that surrounded her debut album “The Lighthouse” back in 2003, but if truth be told, that is where it began and ended for me.
Fast forward to 2021 and I was invited to Dry’s show at The Queens Theatre as part of the Adelaide Fringe festival. With a quick google and research under my belt, I was not only surprised at where the star of “The Block” had taken her music, but also her incredible talent at writing; not just music, but also a full blown musical entitled “Mother, Wife and the Complicated Life.” With rave reviews for both her music and the musical firmly tucked under her belt, I was curious to see for myself the talent that so many have been raving about.
It’s clear from the onset of the show that Dry loves a story and good at telling them, she most certainly is. Joined on stage by her four piece band, often sitting at the piano herself, Dry’s voice is crisp and at times very powerful. As she launches into the second song of the set and the one most associated with the singer, “The Lighthouse,” it is clear to see that Dry has the ability to tap into a place of heartache and sorrow, two things she said she hadn’t really known much of at the time of writing the song.
Much of Dry’s story telling revolves around female empowerment and drawing on inspirational artists like Sarah Bareilles and Carole King, the standard that she clearly sets herself for song writing is of the utmost calibre and she definitely delivers. As Dry covered the likes of Adele, it was her version of Bareilles “She Used to be Mine” that highlighted just how strong and emotive her voice could truly get. “Beautiful” and “Powerful” were two words I had written down as the song danced through my ears.
Joining Dry on stage was former co-star Rachel McCall (Jessie) from the musical “Mother, Wife and the Complicated Life,” with the two performing a hilarious number from the show, making it even more abundant that Dry really is a force to be reckoned with. A Carole King mashup followed, performed to perfection but it was the song “Beautifully Brave” born out of a new love, uncertainty and a fear of vulnerability, which yet again highlighted not only the singer’s voice, but song writing skills that sit firmly in the same lane as those aforementioned inspirations she draws so heavily from.
As the show came to a close with another of singers more recognised songs, “Rollercoaster,” it was something that she mentioned earlier that resonated with me. Embarking on a new relationship and acknowledging the fear that so many of us have when surrendering out heart to the unknown, it was Dry’s new partner who calmly put at her ease by saying “Stay brave and open.” If there is one takeaway from Dry’s show tonight, other than her incredible talent, is that she most definitely lives by those wise words from her partner.
Brave and open is most definitely what we got tonight.