Cabaret and cocktails seems a fairly likely combination. Cabaret and mental health? Perhaps less so – but that doesn't mean it's not a good one.
Valerie is molecular-biologist-turned-theatre-company-co-founder, Robin Kelly's, first foray into songwriting. The biographical show emerged from Kelly's curiosity of what is, or isn't, passed on genetically and the stories that make up his family's history. It is inspired his beloved grandmother – the show's namesake – and her ability to hold people together when things are falling apart.
Narratives of the impact of mental illness were never taboo in Kelly's family, giving him the confidence to explore these further in front of an audience. In Valerie, he performs alongside wife Cherie Moore and close friend/producer/drummer Tom Broome to form a talented and tight-knit cast. Together with director Benjamin Henson, they flesh out the show's confronting material through songs of spine-tingling splendour.
This beautifully affecting show is being performed at the Basement Theatre from September 27 and is part of this year's Auckland Live International Cabaret Season.