In 2017 Elizabeth Shearer established the Australian independent company “Miss Zella Shear”. The theatrical cabaret “Bite Me But Smile” was produced shortly after, with the protagonist of course of the same namesake “Miss Zella Shear”. “Bite Me But Smile” has had seasons at Sydney Fringe 2018 and Adelaide Fringe 2019. Future seasons for 2019 will be Sydney Fringe once again and Brisbane. “Miss Zella Shear” is working towards Edinburgh Fringe 2020.
Zella Shear cascades onto the stage, all scarlet and self-assured – but beneath her chest beats the heart of a lonely soul looking for love and/or replacement batteries. Through comedic dialogue, audience participation, and a wonderfully curated musical story arc, she explores the aphrodisiac of loneliness and how to dull the pain through pet selfies, Instagram-induced oxytocin hits and comfort eating on Hindley Street at 3am.
That longing is most evident when she opens her mouth to sing her selected repertoire of love & loss songs, and lordy, she knows how to match her voice to precisely fill the performance space with melodic elegance.
Her jazz cabaret numbers like “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend” are filled with energy, humour and a good dose of physical comedy, but when she switched down gears to a saudade-laden rendition of “Surabaya Johnny” in impeccable German, you are hard pressed not to have a swooning Gomez Addams moment.
Her ability to then somehow blend tongue-in-cheek Australian patriotism, burlesque gimmickry and highly trained operatic splendour, shows she has the best kind of performing attention deficit, and most importantly the smarts to pull it all off.
Straight up – Zella is the fully versatile Demtel’s Tim Shaw of Cabaret, just when you think you’ve got her all figured out there is always a “But Wait There’s More!” on offer,