"Great vocals, playful retro cabaret"
by May Davey for remotegoat on 02/08/13

There’s no getting away from it, the Kitsch Kittens are a lot of fun. Tamsyn Salter and Emma Ruth are charismatic performers who, in the guise of singing duo Barbie and Sindy, revisit to fine retro effect the girl vocal numbers of the 50s and 60s. With plenty of savoir faire in handling an audience, and strong musical skills on their side, they’re well placed to create a thoroughly entertaining evening. There’s comic patter too, but what really wins is the unselfconscious tongue-in-cheek humour that underpins the actual delivery. Whilst they clearly enjoy their audience the Kitsch Kittens manage to do so without a trace of self-serving vanity. Their material works, in short, because the performers serve their roles well and not the other way about.

The Kitsch Kittens have been delivering their brand of playful cabaret for more than a decade and ‘It’s Different’ is characterised as their reunion show after the passage of some time away from the high stools and sequins. That may or may not be a reflection of the truth. For Barbie and Sindy at least, it seems that some things have changed and others may be about to. The show certainly seemed in need of a little work to give it the polish it needs, since it suffered from one or two dropped lyrics, a not-quite-secure harmony, a laugh lost to poor timing.

Sugared and saucy by turns, the 60 minute show takes in some deftly handled audience participation. Musical highlights, from among the classics of 50s and 60s girl power, include ‘The Happening’ and ‘One Fine Day’. Oh, and it’ll be hard to forget the novel interpretation of ‘Time is on Your Side’.

This was presented as part of the annual Abbeyfest at Merton Abbey Mills, SW19. Now in its 16th year it’s puzzling that the festival doesn’t consistently attract better audiences for its programme in the uniquely historic Colour House theatre. Certainly ‘It’s Different’ deserved a fuller house, even midweek. This show is great fun and with the polish in place - not only on the girls’ nails but from top to toe and start to finish – is set to be a real success.

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