Billed as part cabaret, part wannabe warehouse rave, my expectations were prepared. An industrial soundtrack heralds Black’s arrival on stage, as she opens with a perceptive and political spoken word/rap piece. Drawing the audiences’ attention to ‘riots, recessions and referendums’, Black creates an atmosphere of discerning merriment.
An eclectic mix of comedy, cabaret and song
Bad Luck features an eclectic mix of comedy, cabaret and song. Much of the songs have been written by Black, and are sung to the backdrop of her classically trained piano compositions. There’s a Lily Allan-esque quality to some of these, and her piano cover of Faithless’s Insomnia is a masterstroke of ingenuity. However Black’s voice doesn’t work with most of the songs she sings. There’s no depth to her vocals, and a mediocrity to her singing talents in general. This is juxtaposed with her expert aptitude on the piano, and just doesn’t hit the heady heights she’s aiming for.
There are moments of Bad Luck which are clutching desperately for brilliance, however it’s just a fraction out of reach. A few cabaret tricks are peppered into the performance, which were a weak aspect of the show. A cotton bud in her nose, and a party popper let off in her mouth. There’s a general lack of cohesion and theme to the narrative, and rather than being the promised 'wannabe warehouse rave' (how much fun does that sound!), there’s sporadic reference to general parties which is steeped in mediocrity.
An inexplicable interlude comes in the form of Marv Radio, a drum and base artist who performs a ten minute beat box piece. Black was absent from the stage for the whole duration of this, which felt like a prolonged period of time for her to be missing from her own show.
Black’s strengths are in her off-the-cuff adlibs. She’s tremendously and effortlessly funny, and her audience interaction was successful. They enthusiastically did her bidding, and were on board with her the whole way throughout. The bass guitarist, Erictric, was also a highlight. A bit more finesse to the theme and a refining of her art will elevate this show. Overall, Bad Luck aims for brilliance but achieves mediocrity.