Torte e Mort: Songs of Cake and Death
You should know this if you didn’t already: Anya Anastasia is a major, major talent. Simpering haughtily onstage (a tricky combination but she nailed it) in full 18thCentury faux fantasy French dress, towering wig and sequinned – well, everything as Marie Antoinette manquée , Ms Anastasia proceeded to spend the next hour charming, challenging, amusing, delighting and provoking her audience. Her original songs are beautifully written; and catchy, moving or hilarious in turn, turning in an instant from ribald satire to sweet truth that cuts down to the bone – Cake and Death, just as it said on the tin.
Anya can also play piano in ANY position (I’ll leave that to your imaginations, but FYI she’s pretty bendy), and the ukulele – and she can SING. From a bawdy burlesque to a faux Goth scream to a chilling lullabye, all delivered with supreme artistic confidence as she transitions from the spoiled Marie Antoinette to a dancing skeleton, to a peeved head-in-a-box to a shameless she-demon (apparently the Devil is originally from Adelaide, who knew?)
Special mention must be made of percussionist Bec Matthews who provided a complex heartbeat for the show, as well as sound effects, shadow puppeteering, and a moment as the world’s saddest executioner. A silent handmaiden, whose solemnly bored expression never once wavered, managed the tiny stage with ruthless efficiency (throwing in the odd harmony as required). At the end the audience exploded with applause as only a Melbourne audience can. It was fabulous, funny and hugely entertaining.
Photos by Kate Pardey.