26 September 2017, Spiegeltent
Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival
Havelock North’s Village Green became the centre of Hawke’s Bay’s camp cabaret on Tuesday night with Yana Alana and Tha Paranas. The show began with Yana singing ‘History Repeating’ behind a screen while newsreels played over her silhouette. This enabled the audience to appreciate her amazing voice, separate from her body. The body took centre stage later on. The band put on a great, conspiratorial show as Yana worked off her jokes; they sounded like they’d been told before but the audience didn’t mind at all.
Yana was an amazing performer, and centre stage was where she was all night. Under the spotlight, tassled bra, frilly skirt and all. This show was unusual in that Yana was appearing fully clothed, but it didn’t take long for a few items to disappear. All eyes were on her. They were on her when she ran around the room singing Joy Division’s ‘Control’ in a T-shirt and knickers, when she squeezed her boobs into a tube top to ‘If it don’t fit, don’t force it’, and when she was dressed as a bat singing Italian opera.
Her supporting band, Tha Paranas, were a tight unit and they provided her comic foil. Those expecting covers of more recent songs may have been disappointed, as most of them were older cabaret-esque numbers. There were, however, plenty of references to modern pop lyrics in the show to keep you on your toes.
Yana has a truly incredible voice and is an equally incredible performer. She has made many new fans here and I wonder how long it will be until Havelock has its own cabaret bar.
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