By Kerrie Batrouney
Travel back in time with Sophie Bengough to 1939 when John meets Elizabeth in Melbourne. We hear a personal love story brought to life with accompanying songs that have stood the test of time. It is a glimpse into the magic of another era, long past but never forgotten. A salute to the well loved songs which, it is not an exaggeration to say, helped the diggers at the front connect with loved ones back home and reminded them of what they were fighting for. The show is particularly poignant as we approach Remembrance Day.
Cabaret artist Sophie Bengough has created a show which combines old photos, old memories and old stories. She has strung the memories into a moving story and linked it to the emotion in the songs. Her performance captivates us as she sings songs from another era, from WWII I was surprised how many of the songs were very familiar, songs such as; “A nightingale sang in Berkley Square”, “There’ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover”, “I’ll be seeing you”, “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, “We’ll meet again”. I believe the likes of Vera Lynn and Billie Holliday would approve of the musical arrangements of pianist Jack Hollander who was excellent.
Sophie’s performance is a real trip down memory lane, her dress, shoes and hairstyle all help to conjure a time gone by. The songs range from joyous to foot tapping to sombre. The music evokes memories of a more innocent time, an innocence that was lost forever at the outbreak of WWII. Never again would so many young men so readily sign up and march off to a faraway war.
Back to Elizabeth and John, their story is a very Australian story, a very Melbourne story, it is typical of so many Melbournians who met as war was breaking out. Sophie’s passionate storytelling gives us a glimpse of the magic of true love, like a romance novel come to life. Her story is very personal and full of affection, bringing the memories sharply alive as she sings the songs of WWII and links them to the emotions. The memories are happy and also sad ,but deserve to be remembered and Sophie’s performance does them justice.
I’ll be seeing you is playing at The Butterfly Club, a small thriving theatre in the heart of Melbourne. The club, established 20 years ago, has a number of shows every night, some regular weekly events and others just for a night or two. The bars are decked out in an enormous collection of kitsch, a conversation starter, there’s always something new to see.
This original cabaret show skilfully connects the story to the memories to the songs. Sophie Bengough is a talent to watch out for, from the engaging story that draws us in, to the outstanding vocal’s, Sophie has created a show that is simply beautiful and beautifully simple.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.