Hollywood High Tea was a special performance of three talented vocalists (Lauren Lee Innis-Youren, Patrick Hill, and Callum Bright), who presented a three-part show of famous songs from the Golden Era of the silver screen, whilst the audience partook in high tea. It was quite an enjoyable experience, with an overall aesthetic engagement that went beyond simply listening to pleasant songs that breathe nostalgia.
Before moving onto the performance itself, it is important to discuss the environment and location (as this was an essential part of the performance). Mamor Chocolates & High Tea Szalón, located in Collingwood on Johnston Street, is an intimate venue for a performance. Done up with the decadence and sophistication one expects from a high tea venue, with an air of exclusivity and luxury, it suited the style of golden-era Hollywood and Broadway tunes well. The couches, colours, and the clientele seemed to come together to make it seem as though the performers were regulars, rather than the one-off performance they were.
Plus dessert with lovely music is always a treat.
The three vocalists worked well together. Although there were only a few songs where all three participated, those worked well and they bounced energy off each other. Their vocal skills were very clearly showcased, and each singer had their moment to shine. Lauren’s operatic soprano an female timbre made for a pleasant change from when the more crooner-y Patrick and/or Callum sang, but both the male singers were able to do sweet or lighthearted very well. All three were undoubtedly strong in their ability to convey the emotional impact of every song however.
They also had the aesthetics down. Patrick and Callum had complimentary blazers and bowties; whilst Lauren was decked out in quite the Flapper outfit. Very chic indeed.
In an unfortunate turn of events the performance itself was one of the weaker parts of the experience. Backing tracks are limiting things – especially when some of the files have not been equalised properly for the show. It is important to get the timing correct (which was missed a couple of times during the performance), otherwise it can be disconcerting for both performer and audience. And unlike a live accompanist, the backing track will carry on, oblivious to mistakes in timing or entry.
This issue could have been solved with perhaps one or two more rehearsals. The show was, however, saved by the relaxed atmosphere and small audience, which had an impact of leaving the performers more human. This in turn meant that errors could be laughed away or incorporated into the songs. And many of the audience were more interested in the food than watching the performance closely.
Overall, an afternoon well spent. The intimate environment meant that the mistakes, whilst noticeable, were still not able to distract from the entire show. It was a complete package of food and entertainment, and hopefully we see more from all singers (especially with a tighter version of this performance) and similar events from the Mamor Chocolates & High Tea Szalón.