Adelaide Fringe Review 2017: The Redhead Cabaret


From little things big things grow, so the song goes.

I prelude this review with this statement because I can see a lot of fast developing talent, and great ideas. Have no doubt, the crowd loved it – practically a capacity house.

But what I think I saw was a lot of good individual performances that have all the more capacity to be further woven together, and intermeshed, to make something greater than the sum of its parts.

I was simultaneously excited & disappointed that host- Miss Demeanour – fingers of fire on piano, accompanied by sultry Laveene Du Pearl on vocals and a take-no-prisoners drummer, Steph Fitzpretzel, were only musical interlude pieces. Seriously – I think they could, nay, should be used to underpin many of the danced performances too! These performers are not a mere counterpoint to the main show, to my mind.

red head

The show also delves into the mythological & archetypal power of the Red Head. For example, the role of antediluvian Adam’s first wife – Lilith – as a powerful symbol of feminist empowerment, was undertaken by Ivy Fox in her sensuous stage performance. There are two sides to Lilith – that has been reclaimed by women through self-empowerment, and that projected by men in both desire & fear. I think if you are met with a nervous audience who are yet to give it all – then there is a broader palette of emotions to play with to get the response you need and deserve as a performer. But it must be acknowledged that it is no easy thing to channel such a demi-Goddess.

There was a lot of polished technical work – Scarlett Fatale & Harlot Rose demonstrated restraint, poise & balance, showing that seduction can arise through minimalism & pure suggestion. Dulce Esperenza similarly expressed a callisthenic bond with a pair of feather fans that operated as a true extension to herself.

Porcelain LeBon was the embodiment of “switch” – in a routine that cleverly topped from below as she moved to suggest supplication, but cleverly not relinquishing control to those not worthy.

Sirena del Rossa blended sociopathic revenge with sensuality – because the lines between sex & death have ever been thin – and pulls off a body in barrels trope that South Australians would viscerally enjoy. In the wash up she also snubs her nose at occupational health & safety risk by performing worthy balancing acts of visual elegance on slippery surfaces, which we can only thank her for.


I’m going to mention boylesque perfomer L’Homme Blayze last. He provided the required comedy relief within what could be seen as a heavy programme – but I am going to openly question whether parody routines is the required manifestation of his presence. There is also a psychological gravitas to the male ‘Ranga – and in a show that delves into the Jungian forms that permeate our conscious & unconscious world, I see great opportunity to explore the notions of masculinity under the rulership of this colour – Mars/ Ares, the Irish Dagda…why even Erik The Red since Vikings are all the rage!

Good tribes stick together over time, and I hope this is the case here – because I think there is something more to be discovered in this production. This may be as much an unfolding for the performer as it is for the audience.

There are two more performances of The Redhead Cabaret at Nexus for Adelaide Fringe 2017 season.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 19th 2017 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Reviews | Comments (0)

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Adelaide Fringe Review 2017 – Michael Wheatley & The Dirty Carpet Disco Band


Maybe it was prescient I saw some doco on tv this week bemoaning the passing of Variety Shows, musing that Reality TV & “Australia’s Got Some Kind of X Factor” offerings now occupy the space where professional multitalented performers used to ply their trade.

The sadness behind this is that every song can hold a narrative that starts long before a single note has been struck, a mood and a back-story that prepares us for the experience. And they can all stitch together as part of a bigger artistic testimony that we didn’t see coming. Our attention spans are now too short. And we expect so little in the name of entertainment. Time to raise your expectations, and prepare to have them met.


If this were ornithology, Michael Wheatley would be a very rare Inner Western Sydney Basin Crooner, with a melodious song best heard to great effect in the mating season. He has hidden plumage under that initially understated demeanour – it just takes the right bird song for all to be revealed as nature intended.

But let me talk more about the band. Itty Kitty Bang Bang, a ballet dancing Glamazon commanding a drum kit with the ferocity of the Muppets “Animal”, but with the carefully engineered precision of a Swiss Watch. Stefano Cosetino, Bass man, holds the foundations like reinforced poured concrete – but never inflexible, jazz grooves and pops flowed from his finger tips. Daniel Holmes is like a zen guitarist – his crafted licks and harmonies are an act of meditation seeking to illuminate, not overpower, Michael’s vocals.

Miss Burlesque ACT 2016, Jazida, was music made visible – her arms were pure melody, her hips an extension of Kitty’s kit, her smile an extension of the wry mischief in the lyrics.

But last, I want to talk about Kelly Ann Doll. She is one of Australia’s best burlesque performers, hands down, so I’m not going to tread over old ground. But until this tour, she had never sung in front of a band before. She was a Dionysian Maenad on stage, her voice and body synchronised in frenzy & ecstasy – instinct & emotion ritualised, beautiful & terrifying. This is where burlesque is going. Pay attention.

This troupe of troubadours has one more performance – tonight, 19 February, at La Boheme.

Michael Wheatley & The Dirty Carpet Disco Band – expect severe rug burns.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 19th 2017 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Music,Reviews | Comments (0)

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