Archive for February, 2012

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Adelaide Fringe Review – The Beautiful & The Damned

Last year’s Adelaide Fringe presented some truly great burlesque alongside some decidedly mediocre efforts that were happy to co-opt the name in order to get punters through the door, but then deliver something so by-the-numbers or off target that made the experience painful.

I admit my bias up front though –  I like my burlesque either traditional, or innovative, but have come to dread the maudlin’ middle ground.  I held no such fears for the Miss Kitty’s Meow “Beautiful & The Damned” production, coming from a decidedly dedicated burlesque training ground in Tasmania with accompanying names of good repute from amongst the Australian scene.

The first number from the Meow Trio was a bright choreographed fan dance, with clever interplay, excellent audience eye contact, captivating smiles – this dancing dole of doves immediately injected a sense of levity into the night.

Zara La Mor then gave us a Cabaret chair routine with sharp Liza Minelli smarts to the tunes of “Mein Herr”. Some might regard this as ‘cabaret standard’, but unless you have an audience already well versed with the impact of Weimar sensibilities on such live performances – revisiting and reinforcing this history is justified. And to drive the point home, Zara dots the dancing exclamation point with eye watering splits.

Like a late Russian Royalty, Lucy Sky Diamond, dominates the stage with presence, replete in furs. Oh, and what a venus in furs is she! Playful. Poised  Never resorting to overly grandiose movements, it’s the subtlest bump of her hip, flourish with a hand and a half concealed seductive smile that shows that an understatement can speak volumes.

This was followed by the delightful Oopsie Daisy who gave us a sultry “Do Right” – her controlled jazz vibrato and pitch delivering a solid emotional performance.

Grace Cherry delivered my want of innovation. A slow controlled burlesque number with ballet highlights and contemporary dance tonality, immaculately timed and expressed over a melancholic cello soundtrack.

If to date we had the Beautiful, then Bella De Jaq gave us the Damned, like a glorious crimson fallen angel losing her wings feather by feather upon descent. Her routine was infernally good, her demeanor smoldering, like red hot embers fanned with purgatorial pleasures.

Seldom does one see a flower as radiant as a Tiger Lilly in bloom, a gorgeous vintage costume, shimmying seductively to a jazzy “My Man”. What I admired most about her was her facial expression of the lyrical emotion – amazing transitions between pain, tease, terse and sass-  a seamless glissando of heartfelt projection.

Lucy Sky Diamond returned once again, this time amongst a sea of blue parachute, rolling like waves. She emerged from the waves like the mythological Cyprian Aphrodite herself, replete in gold and jewels, dancing to a stirring classical soundtrack while weaving a beguiling spell of infatuation and beguilement upon the witness (at least I was anyway..)

And lastly Bella De Jaq, initially diaphanous and delicate like a porcelain fin de siècle doll come to life, built a closing performance with what became a raw and personal number where the energy emerged from the introspective self, a display of passionate movement and a soul laid bare.

This is a short run show – Friday 24th February (SOLD OUT) and Saturday 25th February Where: Excess Theatre, Gluttony Cnr of Grendell and Rundle Rd When: 10:45pm – 11:45pm

Adults $24 Concession $20 Fringe Benefits $10.

Be there with the Beautiful people or be Damned.


Posted by Jonathan on Feb 24th 2012 | Filed in Art,Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,Events,News,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

Angelique Verte Suisse Review February 2012

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Ok – we have been a little quiet lately, and the only excuse I’m going to provide is that when one has a young addition to the family in the first years of his life, it really throws plans for regular absinthe consumption out the window. Now he has more of his own independence, I can indulge more in daddy’s little helper and bring back some regularity to what’s on in Australia with regard to absinthe and associated cultural mores.

I have been sitting on this particular absinthe for too long – the wife is out, the child is having his afternoon nap, ginger & garlic beef stew on the slow cooker. Time to break the seal.

This Swiss baby is, according to the back label, hand crafted by Claude-Alain Bugnon, “one of the first clandestine distillers to come out into the open after the Swiss ban on absinthe was lifted in 2005”. It is a Swiss meadow in a bottle – over a dozen aromatic herbs in the making. I must admit upfront, as a trained herbalist such products tend to be favourite of mine as I untangle the dispensary upon my tongue.

I pop the T cork – this 68% alc/vol absinthe greets me with sweetened hyssop notes, a light touch of mint in the air, characteristic anise, antique leather armchair. But a dominant aroma of a freshly opened box of pipe tobacco mushrooms into the air, moist, just shredded to release the aromatics, rich like treacle. Not sure if I should smoke it in a pipe or drink it?

I pour a sample, and it is almost yellow. Citrine or Chrysoberyl. It is naturally coloured, but it is certainly a unique hue.  When drinking alone I sometimes defer to the careful pour from my water decanter, which does tend to be a bit quicker than a fountain drip, but this is not a quick louche absinthe. It resists my aqueous invocations.  The level goes up and up before the first tease of transformation. Patience. Patience is a virtue. About 3/4 there it blossoms, swirls of opaqueness that soon transforms into a veritable mothers milk – thick, solid, almost impenetrable as the spoon disappears into its veil.

To the taste, I first note a soft saltiness wrapped up in a more gentle beguiling wormwood bitterness.  And then, for a minute you fear that there may be an impending and unfortunate alcohol burn in the back of the throat – but no – it halt on the edge of the precipice and instead melts down your neck like a thick anise linament, warming, therapeutic, but no more than that.

The aroma on dilution is principally anise & fennel, the texture on the tongue is thick and gracious reflecting the appearance of the louche. I do think there may be more complexity hidden and weaved on the nose than on the tongue – but do not mistake this as meaning the taste is at all boring.

For a complicated absinthe it seems to try not to complicate the taster, which can be a risk for absinthes of this style. It does have a very good length – continuing to please in the minutes after the taste.  And then, as the absinthe in the glass warms a little, the tongue and snoz are teased with that cheeky mint again – more like a Persian Spearmint tea kind.

By no means an entry level absinthe, but I think accessible to those on all rungs above on the ladder – the training of the nose and palate I believe will unveil more and more surprises in this absinthe.  A welcome back for me, openly taunting me with what I have been missing.

Angelique Verte Suisse was kindly provided by Absinthesalon.com.au for review

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 4th 2012 | Filed in Absinthe brands,Absinthe Reviews,Distilleries,News,Reviews | Comments (0)