YANA ALANA AND THA PARANAS
BY LOU PARDI
South Melbourne Town hall is a beautiful space. It is huge, requiring a certain presence to connect with an audience. Thankfully, Yana Alana is well up to the task. In a glittering gown, feathered headpiece and flowing cape, she opens with a number about herself, a theme which persists, deliciously, throughout the performance.
Yana Alana (Sara Ward of Sista She) and tha Paranas (four fantastic musicians) make up a five piece band which, in its own right, is tight, delivering excellently composed pieces. The addition of comedy is a bonus. Yana Alana’s character is derisive, clever, opinionated and brilliant. The musicality of the pieces is well-matched in quality by the lyrics and comedy.
Yana Alana takes parody to a new level, combining her powerful voice and shimmering glamour with a construction lift to sing about being amongst the stars, kicking off her heels to climb a ladder somewhat inelegantly to strike a pose, or taking a seat on someone’s table to down a banana as the whole group takes smoko before a bemused audience.
Her gay anthem, a reminder to homosexual boys who have decided they hate woman, is a reminder that they wouldn’t be here without us, not to mention the most impressive piece of choreography in the show.
A clever costume change is masked as an audience member is persuaded to take the stage and read a poem about the C-word, by Yana Alana. After this brief interlude it is Sara Ward who appears to deliver the closing song, lovely, strong, and talented, if less bitter than her creation.
This review first appeared in Beat magazine.