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Review: Siblingship at The Hayes

By Michelle Fisher

They were the darlings of the junior eisteddfod set winning every competition they entered and literally learnt to dance and perform as soon as they were old enough to walk and talk.

In this 60-minute cabaret, Daniel Assetta and his sister Chiara show us what it’s like “surviving life, parents and sharing the limelight”, taking us on a journey through old home videos of their early years and anecdotes and songs they have put together.

Chiara tells us from the start that Daniel was the boss – choosing the songs, making up the routines and directing younger sibling Chiara all the way. Occasionally she good humouredly tells you that he had her do back up by literally having her face the back wall and was quite critical of her commitment to her dance career…at age 8. Despite this, at all times the absolute unbreakable bond between these two is evident and at the end when they do separate to start their careers in different directions the sadness even now is real and you can only imagine how many tears were shed back then.

The pair are clearly talented. Daniel is the whole package – a young man who is good looking, can sing, dance and choreograph (and apparently act as the costume designer, booking agent and talent manager for the duo as well). Excitingly, those familiar with his work will know that since 18 when he left to go on tour with Wicked, he has been living his dream and working in the Australian theatre industry pretty much consistently since, most recently in West Side Story and The Book of Mormon. Chiara’s career too has seen her working consistently between performing (also recently in West Side Story on the Harbour) and choreographing. She too has a vibrant personality and a good voice and together they form a very entertaining duo.

This piece is not for everyone, it’s a little self-indulgent but then again most cabaret is – and as an old “ dance mom” I personally enjoyed every minute. There is nothing more wonderful than seeing these kids who put so many hours and so much work into their training seeing their dreams fulfilled. Unquestionably, this piece has a particular audience but for the Hayes opening night, the duo clearly hit the mark.

Opening with videos (which I really wish had played whilst everyone was taking their seats…would have been such a cute touch and taken out the slightly awkward beginning of what felt like a 3 minute home slideshow), and a fabulous voice over taking us all back to the Western Sydney eisteddfod days where a Big W voucher was on the line and so the stakes were high, the pair immediately set us up to want to cheer them on and impressively their energy didn’t dwindle in the slightest throughout the high energy, action packed hour.

A highlight for me was the skit in which they remembered being booked to perform at all their relative’s weddings (and, it sounds like every other Italian function as well) and finding love songs that they could sing in public that weren’t ‘weird’ to sing with their brother/sister…or in their pre-teen years. This cute mash up of love songs absolutely garnered all the laughs – singer or not, we all get how awkward it must be to sing ‘I will always love you’ and the like to your brother. Another highlight was Daniel’s fabulous coming out song – what a number!

You have to like cabaret to understand this but I for one am glad to see the Hayes welcoming back some cabaret acts like Siblingship in between their bigger musicals because it is always a treat to get to see some really talented people do what they love the most and that is exactly what this show had to offer. The pair have been touring the country with this show so if it comes to a city near you and you, like me, are a past dance mum, go support this act – you’ll be absolutely glad that you did.

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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