Oh what a night. Taking woman power to a whole new level, Perth Symphony Orchestra delivered the goods with their all woman extravaganza, leaving audiences feeling completely invigorated, vitalised and ready to claim their place in the world. Full of fist-pumping moments, the vibe in the gorgeous Astor Theatre was one of love and moxie, completely overwhelming and utterly joyful.
Witnessing a stage full of women was a memorable, glorious sight that won’t be soon forgotten. At every stage of production, femmes only have been involved, from the musical arrangements, the orchestra itself, all songs by women, sung by women, and conducted by a woman. Incredible, and possibly a world first. Hardly surprising, coming from the multi-talented and inspiring Bourby Webster (founder and CEO of PSO), who was just announced as West Australian of the Year – Arts and Culture. Congratulations Bourby!
Featuring the vocal stylings of Perth’s finest in Odette Mercy, Rose Parker, Sophie Foster and Lucy Peach as leads, and backed by the stunning croonings of Alana Fay, Chelsea Cullen and Mia Matthiessen, the night included beloved hits from the likes of Beyonce, Adele, Janis Joplin, Madonna, Nina Simone and Chaka Khan, performed to perfection throughout.
An absolute standout performance was a total surprise, delivered by the backing vocalists and some stunningly twee choreography by backing dancers to the crowd favourite that is the theme to the iconic television show Fame. The crowd sang, they danced, they applauded heartily.
The tone was one of relaxed but extra revelation in being a woman. While the dress code requested smart casual, the audience embraced the glory of the moment and dressed accordingly. Sequins, feathers and velvet adorned fierce women, many of whom were singing along to numbers, screaming and stomping for more, and dancing in the aisles. It was a delightfully decadent, disobedient time and one we all revelled in.
Odette Mercy was the most delectable hostess, thoroughly encouraging much needed social disobedience and disruption to the patriarchy through her words as well as her songs. What a voice for women everywhere. Between being a soul diva onstage, to her starring role in the phenomenally feminist powerhouse that is Hot Brown Honey, to a feature on the five star internationally renowned podcast The Guilty Feminist, there is literally nothing this woman cannot do, and Perth should be rightfully proud. Talk about a homegrown heroine.
Rose Parker delivered consistently magnificent performances, but her Janis Joplin was a new level of gorgeously spine-tingling moments. Lucy Peach reached her pinnacle with her adorably cheeky brand of folkiness on Jolene, and Sophie Foster was nothing less than perfection throughout.
But best on field must be awarded to conductor Jessica Gethin, whose unique brand of sass brought something unexpected to what could be a stuffy orchestra. Between her attire, viking hair and killer boots, Gethin is cheeky and engaging all at once, as she plays with the audience while looking over her shoulder and inviting them into the show with a lascivious wink.