Stray Cat Strut – A Fringe Review

Review of Meow Meow, Beyond Glamour: The Absinthe Tour, Bosco Theatre, Garden of Unearthly Delights – Adelaide Fringe Festival

There is something truly ethereal about Meow Meow.

I have seen her lovingly described in another review as a walking Art Deco theatre facing condemnation. And if she is as old as she jokes, then she is also a prowling feline who moves amongst and uses the shadows for her own purposes – who with the right song, the right mood can transmogrify from a faded cabaret diva of sepia tinged memories to a much younger starlet, full of a chimeric eye-batting innocence and steely determination to make her mark upon you like a branding iron.

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From the minute she shambolically stumbled into the aging 100 year old Bosco circus theatre, dragging a suitcase in tow, fag in hand screaming abuse at the lighting technician she ensnared our hearts and minds and immediately stuffed them amongst the medication, the corsets, lingerie and many accoutrements in her luggage.

We, the individuals in the audience, for a brief moment or a whole show stopping number, could easily have been a lost friend, maybe her potential pillow for the night, her living music stand, her barman, her chaise lounge, her source of irritation, or manifestation of joy.

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Make no mistake, on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams she sings about in her opening number, we are floundering in one of its many potholes – and she is determined to raise us onto the bitumen and walk the lonely mile with her, or at least support her while she staggers forward with a tune under her husky breath and bottle of cab sav swinging from the other arm.

If the world is a stage, then it is little surprise that she speaks most of its languages – if a song sounds good in German, it may sound better in Polish, maybe even Mandarin. But never in Hungarian.

We come to learn that in Argentina songs of politics and songs of devotion can be indistinguishable. That a cabaret tune to the Nazi invasion of Poland has as much relevance to the American invasion of Iraq. That love is a source of heartache, of indecision of whether to savour a passing moment or live in regret, even of forbidden carnal desire that might land you in a penitentiary.

We learn a song does not start and finish in a straight sequence. That a truly magnificent cabaret number may require an assisted mid-number costume change resembling an act of bondage, maybe a piece biting social commentary or maybe it requires a group grope on stage with the audience to convey an appropriate emotional context. Always in context, darling, never just for the sake of it.

These are not mere distractions or props to the music, they are a living manifestation of the music written in often turbulent times, and Meow Meow is our psychopomp through these realms. Sometimes quite serious, and sometimes of painful hilarity.

But you will submit and give yourself over, and enjoy the fleeting intimacy.

And if you have not yet spent a night with Meow Meow – you have this Sunday 2nd March, Tuesday 4th March or Wednesday 5th of March.

Absinthe.com.au attended this performance with the kind support of the Adelaide Fringe.

Jonathan Mar 1st 2008 11:31 pm Cabaret,Events,Music,People,Reviews No Comments yet Trackback URI

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