The screwy Australian revival of musical comedies continues, with Cabaret opening tonight, Mamma Mia hitting the Lyric Theatre at Star City on 26 September and Footloose cutting itself on the Capitol Theatre stage from 19 October. Vale to Man Of La Mancha, which closes on 1 September, a run hampered by Caroline O’Connor’s absence early in the run from a back injury. (Ms O’Connor is now back on the boards.) Farewell also to What The World Needs Now, which ends its disastrously short run this Sunday night. Given the nasty rash of reviews already spread about the Bacharach musical, I thought a soothing slop of critical hydrozole might be in order. Here it is: Margi De Ferranti is exceptional. In cabaret shows over the last couple of years, De Ferranti tended to belt her ballads with a Mermanlike intensity. Although this might appeal to certain readers, she has since rounded out the tones, resulting in a gutsy vocal instrument enriched by sharp emotion and intelligent interpretation. If gay culture clich?are anything to go by, De Ferranti has all the makings of a new diva -“ she’s not conventionally pretty (sorry, Margi), she’s a survivor, she loves show tunes and, onstage at least, she flits effortlessly between vamp, camp and tramp.

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