Tucked away in the alley ways of Manchester, not too far from Deansgate, is new(ish) piano bar, Sonata. It’s the perfect setting for a cabaret performance filled with jazz, musicals and pop.
Arisha’s OK Cabaret: An Operatic Extravaganza, presented by ToBee Productions, is an autobiographical musical revue exploring Arisha’s lived experiences during their time studying Musical Theatre in Oklahoma City, when it was turned upside down by the worldwide disruptor known as Covid-19.
Stuck halfway around the world from their home in Manchester, Arisha tells their tale of their, should-be-so-exciting, journey training in the renowned university where Broadway icon Kristin Chenoweth once graced the halls. However, it quickly became apparent that this tale wasn’t all jazz hands and high notes, but more a story of crisis, displacement and strength of relationships.
Of course, there were a few tunes along the way including Funny Girls’ ‘I’m The Greatest Star’, Shania Twain’s ‘Man, I Feel Like A Woman’ and a strange rap from a zombie Gilbert & Sullivan show Arisha starred in, in the early university days. These songs, as typical for a cabaret performance, intersected the story, allowing more of an emotional insight into their journey.
Arisha immediately lights up the stage with their energy, exactly what’s needed to keep the audience captivated for 60 minutes. Arisha’s voice exhibited beautiful jazz tones but really shone during the French operatic number which truly displayed the vocal talent in the room.
The evening was raising money for Trans Mutual Aid Manchester, a cause close to the heart of our night’s star. Overall, Arisha’s OK Cabaret: An Operatic Extravaganza was a lovely way to fill just an hour of your time, in a delightful setting with some wonderful music and a bit of a laugh.
Reviewer: Alison Baines
Reviewed: 19th July 2023
North West End UK Rating: