Review: Carpenters from Kempsey at The Chamber at The Queens

Review by Lia Cocks

I had the pleasure of another Fringe outing at 2021’s newest venue, The Queens, and boy was this a fun one!

Presented by the talented Darren Mapes and the incomparable Debora Krizak, the South Australian premiere of Carpenters from Kempsey is a riotous hour of cabaret parody brilliance.

Darren [Mapes] and Sharon [Krizak] Carpenter from Kempsey, NSW, siblings who look eerily like the ‘other’ Carpenters, are taking their doppelganger fortunes on the road, singing and storytelling just like the originals.

Except in between the glorious and distinct musical sounds of the famous Carpenters, Daz and Shaz bring it back to the land of Akubra with euphemisms, anecdotes, and some healthy sibling repartee.

This makes for a joyous and entertaining night of cabaret!

Their introductory satirical song set the tone of the night, and the audience were not disappointed.

Mapes, known for his versatility as a performer, vocal coach and musical director, as older brother Daz, played the role of Richard Carpenter’s harmonizing and arranging with precision – his incredible vocal [and acting] range on display throughout the night.

Krizak, one of Australia’s most critically acclaimed music theatre entertainers, seamlessly moves between the Aussie Shazza and the distinct American Karen’s soft rock contralto – which is a comical juxtaposition of her gilded singing voice and her stage character.

She is pure liquid gold to listen to.

Her musicality and dulcet tones in ‘Yesterday Once More’ and ‘Rainy Days and Mondays’ had the audience swaying and humming along.

With their fun banter and bickering between songs, Darren and Sharon hilariously preface each song with a story from their family and childhoods; dedicating ‘Don’t You Remember You Told Me You Loved Me’ to her incarcerated [aka in isolation] boyfriend, or ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ introduced as the song they were going to sing at their uncles wedding before his bride called it off.

These funny, sometimes non -PC, little character moments had the crowd chuckling with delight and tittering with bemusement.

Some simple but gorgeous lighting by Aaron Thomas and brilliant sound mixing by Didi Gallasch, made for a flawless show.

Their harmonic, ballad arrangement of ‘Ticket To Ride’ was a highlight, as was their Cold Chisel medley, performed in true Carpenters style. An absolute work of genius!

Don’t miss this beloved and successful show; you’ll be toe tapping and singing along for days to come!


Image Supplied