In the Stephen Sondheim song I’m Still Here, the female singer bemoans First you’re another sloe-eyed vamp, then someone’s mother, then you’re camp. It’s at this final stage in a performer’s career they wind up singing ditties like I’m Still Here, in the much-maligned confines of cabaret.
And yet this week sees Christine Anu, aged only 33, take to the cabaret stage in a show at the Seymour Centre entitled Intimate And Deadly.
Anu explains, after a big pause.
I’m gonna be a bit cheeky and say this. My sister rang me up one day and said, -˜Oh my goodness, you should see the Drum Media review on your album [45 Degrees].’ It was hilarious, I gotta say. The person that reviewed it said it was a cabaret album. I just burst into laughter and went wow, that’s very interesting, Anu says.
It was interesting because they must have really delved into it -¦ I guess people are used to hearing the sound of me depicted by one song and one song only and that’s My Island Home, she says. And to hear me source other parts of my voice and my sound and just being able to evolve musically and to produce what I have on my most recent album, 45 Degrees, he picked up on all of that vibe. If his answer is cabaret, then I feel a bit complimented, thank you very much.
The show will be autobiographical, with songs about the culture of her Torres Strait Islander people, her professional life in shows such as Rent and films like Moulin Rouge, as well as cabaret standards including Jacques Brel’s Amsterdam. And of course, My Island Home, which almost didn’t make the playlist.
That question doesn’t just apply to this particular show. It applies to everything, she says. You know that it [My Island Home] basically encases me in a time that is so completely far removed from the person I am now. I look at that and I think, -˜That’s such a little girl, who just has no idea of who she’s gonna turn out to be in a minute.’ Then a minute later I’m this -¦ I’ve been pickled as My Island Home.
I am a woman, I have two children, I’m not one-dimensional, I’m three-dimensional. We all are. I bleed like anybody else. I fart, I shit, I cry. I do all of those things, and when I’m hurt, I’ll say it, she says.
When you’re a single mother of two children, they command and they demand your honesty. Now I have to start speaking the honest truth. This is the real Christine.
Christine Anu: Intimate And Deadly opens tonight, then plays 2, 7, 8 and 9 October at the Seymour Centre, cnr Cleveland St and City Rd, Chippendale. Phone 9351 7940 for bookings.