Review: Mixed Transfer off to slow start

Share Canberra's trusted news:

THE Manhattan Transfer took some time to find their feet, and voices, on the Canberra Theatre stage.  

The famed close harmonies were wider than desired and phrasing was ragged as all initially appeared uncomfortable.

Steve Haas, the outstandingly good drummer, fiddled with his earpiece and gestured off stage regularly, the bass player seemed unhappy with his speaker, Cheryl Bentyne and Janis Siegel indicated dissatisfaction with fold back levels in an unsubtle manner and confusion existed regarding some song tempos and introductions.

This was all quite unexpected and, while not alarming, it did take the gloss of sophistication from offerings of famous hits – “Jeannine”, “Route 66”, “Candy”, “Chanson d ’Amour” and “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” that, at times, sounded somewhat shrill rather than creamy smooth.

Solo performances from all four singers didn’t quite come off and it wasn’t until “Operator” that the sound began to sizzle. The tightness was suddenly there with vengeance as it was with a fantastic rendition of “Birdland”.   Then, out of the blue, The Idea of North – Canberra’s own internationally renowned harmony vocal quartet – appeared for just for one magical song, the groups combining beautifully in “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”.

Overall – a mixed performance – enjoyable, but not the spectacular show I’d been anticipating.

manhattan-transferThe decision to book Canberra talent as the warm-up act had become messy before the show with two of our leading vocalists, Annette Sloane and Leisa Keen, approached (unbeknown to each other) and engaged to perform.

It was upsetting for Annette when she was advised at the eleventh hour that she was no longer required. Thankfully, she is a gracious and lovely lady who decided to allow the less-than-professional process to pass without creating fuss.

Leisa, who had no knowledge of the booking mishap, was an absolute delight!  In a solo performance, rather than with her traditional trio, she charmed with her powerful voice, command of varied jazz styles, neat piano playing and stories of her student days spent with the legendary Gery Scott. From “All That Jazz” and “Perhaps” to “The Birth of the Blues” and “Georgia” this was a most enjoyable snapshot of one of Canberra’s consummate entertainers.


Who Can You Trust?

In a world beleaguered by spin and confused messages, there's never been more need for diverse, trustworthy, independent journalism in Canberra.

Who can you trust? Well, for more than 25 years, "CityNews" has proudly been an independent, free, family-owned news magazine, serving the national capital with quality, integrity and authority. Through our weekly magazine and daily through our digital platforms, we constantly and reliably deliver high-quality and diverse opinion, news, arts, socials and lifestyle columns.

If you trust our work online and believe in the power of independent voices, I encourage you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support will be invested back into our journalism so we can continue to provide a valuably different view of what's happening around you and keep free.

Click here to make your donation and you will be supporting the future of journalism and media diversity in the ACT.

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Previous articleFight club: the world of biff and banter
Next articleCentenary dreams of young hoofers

Leave a Reply