Perth based songstress, Jen De Ness, who is in Adelaide for the Cabaret Fringe Festival played her first of a small number of shows at the Nexus Arts Centre on Friday night.
Her show, which features a selection of songs from her recently released album, See Things Like You, is linked together by a narrative revolving around a number of characters who are looking for love.
Throughout the performance, De Ness covers Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald songs, and a range of her own songs, sung in a generic jazz style which, unfortunately, is often devoid of the power and subtlety usually associated with the genre.
Her tight trio of backing musicians who are led impressively by Bruce Hancock on piano. Hancock proves to be an accomplished pianist and, at one point, De Ness leaves the stage to sit in an empty chair amongst the crowd to simply appreciate Hancock jamming freely on his keyboard, released for a brief moment from his restrictive rhythmic back-up role.
De Ness tries to be a provocative vampish femme fatale but, often, this merely comes across as contrived and unconvincing.
Overall, the show lacks variation and is a little too mono-paced. Tonight’s audience were politely appreciative, without really seeming overly engaged – although they did help the main performer out once or twice, joining in on a chorus or two when their assistance was requested.
Reviewed by Ken Grady