Nobody Does It Like Me

Nobody Does It Like Me
Written by Cienda McNamara. Directed by Catarina Hebbard. Musical Director & Arrangements by James Dobinson. Ian Hanger Recital Hall, Queensland Conservatorium. Saturday 31 March, 2012.

Cienda McNamara is not your classic leading lady, but she certainly knows how to make an entrance – and she definitely knows how to get a laugh. And there were laughs a plenty with her self-penned one-woman show Nobody Does It Like Me. Why do so many performers desire to create one-person shows – they are either very talented, very confident, very brave - or all of the above.

Although her flimsy premise of ‘famous’ actor returning home to launch her autobiography was a little contrived, the audience went along for this self-indulgent rollercoaster ride through Cienda’s career so far.

Cienda is an artist who has many strings to her bow, and is no stranger to the Brisbane theatre community having either directed and performed in productions with Queensland Theatre Company, Warehaus Theatre Company, Oscar Theatre Company, Starlight Theatre Company and Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble.

A natural redhead herself, her continual references to the faux nemesis of her career – another internationally famous Oscar winning actress – as Frizzy Kidman, were hilarious.

Unfortunately the very competent seven-piece band continually overpowered the vocals, due mainly to the size and acoustic nature of the venue - plus the combination of a wayward radio head microphone with a mind of its own.

This was a shame because some of McNamara’s interpretations of the repertoire were visually hysterical. The musical accompaniment would have much better served the performer – with the less is more theory. Simple piano accompaniment would have more than sufficed.

Cienda is to be congratulated for putting together this one-off cabaret style performance, which was a fundraiser to assist her with her goal to study at the Birmingham School of Acting, where she was recently accepted.

Paul Dellit

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