Review: Unapologetically Me: Sharron’s Cabaret For Kids (Young People’s Theatre)

Sharron Matthews in Unapologetically MeSharron’s Cabaret is fun and lively with an engaging message, on stage in Toronto

On Thursday afternoon my grandkid Max and I headed to Young People’s Theatre to see Unapologetically Me: Sharron’s Cabaret For Kids. It’s recommended for kids aged 9-11. Max is only 8¾ but it was fine.

The Sharron in the title is Sharron Matthews and she does a great cabaret around the theme of being yourself. She’s an amazing singer, always a good thing in a cabaret. More than that though, she was so comfortable with the kids in the audience; she was like a really cool aunt who says things your parents don’t say and is funny but tells you important stuff.

At the beginning of the show she introduced herself to two kids in the front row, Elliot and Amelia. It was lovely, she shook their hands and said “Hi, I’m Sharron”. Through the show she would refer to them “You know what I mean, Elliot?”, “Have you ever felt like that, Amelia?”

She asked the kids things like what being a grown-up meant to them, and then moved through the audience getting answers.

She also involved the boys in the back — there are always ‘those kids in the back’, a little rambunctious, a lot of energy. She was great with them.

One of the most touching, to me, parts of the show was a story she told about her first day of kindergarten. She wore all her favourite clothes — mis-matched maybe, but colourful and she loved them — and was so happy when she walked into the classroom. It didn’t last though. There were two little girls wearing proper little girl outfits who laughed at her and called her a clown.

She talked about the feeling she had in her belly and how her heart raced and it was hard to breathe and it was ANXIETY. For the rest of the show when she talked about anxiety she would sing the word.

After the show when I asked Max what part was his favourite he sang “ANXIETY”. I asked why and he said he didn’t know. Max’s been experiencing some anxiety lately, so I think there was maybe something comforting or affirming in hearing Matthews sing about it.

At the end — although we didn’t know it was the end — She started singing and one of the boys in the back stood up and started dancing. Matthews went up the aisle and danced with him. He stepped out into the aisle and he followed her down to the stage. He wasn’t necessarily the best 10 year-old dancer I’ve ever seen but his stage presence, his confidence, was fabulous.

After a couple of minutes she invited the rest of the kids down to dance. The show ended with a stage full of dancing kids and Matthews singing. It was wonderful.

I really enjoyed the show. The kids in the audience seemed to enjoy it. Max enjoyed it. Matthews is a great singer and storyteller and knows how to engage her audience.

I’d say the suggested age range of 9 – 11 is about right. You’re probably ok with six months either side but not much more than that.

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Photo of Sharron Matthews by Ali Sultani

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