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Adelaide Fringe Review 2017 – Bad Luck Cabaret

Under a blanket of electro-industrial beats, Laurie Black struts onto the stage with a degree of PVC clad-menace and Alexander McQueen style, but the minute she opens her mouth and her affable sing-song Londoner accent spills out we know immediately that we are among friends at The Bad Luck Cabaret.

Introduction aside, she launches into her first number which is more poetic than melodic – but it was hard beat British verse in keeping with the Kate Tempest school of delivery. My monochromatic days in the 90’s Doom Generation clearly still have nihilistic currency, as Laurie lists the Bad Luck Generation’s barriers to opportunity and a hopeful future. Yep, it’s still the fucking Boomer’s fault.

scaled_Bad_Luck_Square

Laurie is a musical box of surprises, once the handle is cranked you don’t quite know what might come out. Showing us she can rock a keyboard with every appendage, we got a number about pseudo-sapphic pianophilic tendencies that hit my keys as she tunefully rattled off the models & specifications that made her the woman she is today. Audience participation was also mandatory as she tackled the addictive qualities of fascist-leaning felines in assembled IKEA packaging systems, especially when broadcast on the interwebz.

But this is cabaret – so rather than monopolise the limelight we were firstly granted an audience with Jamie Mykaela. Armed with ukulele, bitter memories, and birdsong in her lungs, her magical powers included long-range stink eye and a bucket of A-grade whimsy to feed the appreciative masses.

Second guest of the evening was the statuesque & startling Jennifer Kingwell – who ravaged the keyboard mercilessly to a Tom Waits cover, and then enlightened us to the phenomenon of Radical Activist Cheerleading by enchanting us with a so-themed love song. Apparently Melbourne’s loss is now Adelaide’s gain – the terms and conditions are quite clear, Victoria can’t have her back.

The Bad Luck Cabaret clearly got the Fortune Cookie tonight that says “You are very talented in many ways”. That or “Your shoes will make you very happy today”, because we are just downright pleased they came to RAdelaide.
Over a week of performances left, no excuses not to get along to one!

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 9th 2017 | Filed in Cabaret,Culture,Music,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2017 – The Curiosity Experiment

The smell of Carclew House is all old wood and leather. Its 19th Century grandeur is a vestibule of memories imbedded in the lacquered patina, the sort of place you would expect denizens of the afterlife to dwell (and popular legend asserts this is so!). What more fitting place is there to stage The Curiosity Experiment?

No more than 13 personages are admitted per performance. When one walks into the antique lined Board Room allocated, we become conscious that this will not follow standard theatrical formula – with we, the audience, separated from events. Rather, that this will be immersive drama.

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The blindfolds on the table are amongst the first things you’ll notice. An instruction is given on how to withdraw from the performance lest your nerve not withstand the events that will unfold, with the caveat that you will not be permitted to re-enter. Be warned there will be sensory deprivation of a manner, but only to amplify the perceptions of the remaining senses in order to better facilitate your imagination, wherever that may take you.

Tapping into the tradition of post-War Spiritualist methodology, by séance & psychometry, we the participants are led into a performed purgatory of restlessness amongst auditory apparitions condemned by tragedy. How and what transpires, I am really not at liberty to say. Nor could I assert my particular experience will be in anyway analogous to yours.

It is, however, amongst the more innovative & intimate stagings I have encountered at a Fringe Festival. And a chance for a seat at the table is becoming progressively in limited supply. It’s the quick or the dead I’m afraid.

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 4th 2017 | Filed in Culture,Reviews,Theatre | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2017 – Baby Got Back

If you are parent to a child around 6 or 7, you will be familiar that to the sub-juvenile mind, butts are the funniest damn things on earth. You can hit them like drums, they can make rude noises and parents seem to flounce in embarrassment when you say bum loudly in front dear old Aunt Ethel who is going on 92.

Somewhere, as we grow up, we lose appreciation of body based humour and become exponentially more embarrassed by the one thing we all have alongside our opinions.

BGB

Think of Baby-Got-Back as a childhood regression therapy for anal retentive adults. From the opening projected sequence, we realise our youngest years of cartoon viewing from Warner Brothers to Ren & Stimpy, we were saturated with booty shaking. But somewhere in time the appreciative elegance and self-ownership of the human body changed into something to be hidden, suppressed and controlled by others.

Following the warm up we are assailed with Punk Pussy Power from the cast – which following the sounds of Prez Trump promoting white cis-male entitlement – forms the basis of an ongoing theme throughout the night, one I think well stated and reiterated by host Memphis Mae. That shaking-what-ya-mamma-gave-ya can be about celebration, spectacle and empowerment, but it should never be an assumption of nor misconstrued as an invitation. Consent culture needs to cast out the old poor-Pavlovian excuses.

What then follows under the curation of the BGB all-stars – Frankie Valentine,Bella deJac, Vesper White & Jane Doe – is a rollercoaster ride of Brazilian Carnivale excess, choco-hole gluttony of Brando-esque proportions, feminist bum puppetry and an Vagina Dentata monster that plays into the phallocentric nightmares of the entitled-male psyche. This is not a by the numbers burly show. It has nuggets of magic, comedy and social commentary amongst the arse-tistry.

Opening night was a sell-out crowd. Take that as a warning that your opportunity to get your bum on a seat (and in an Instagram post!) could be limited.

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 1st 2017 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review – Luna Eclipse’s Adult-ish

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To loosely paraphrase Lyle Lanley from The Simpsons – a die-hard Fringe performing showbo in a 9-5 job is a little like the mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how they got it and danged if they know what to do with it.

 

Such is our understanding when Luna Eclipse takes to the La Boheme stage to convey her perilous decision to pursue a normal job, good accounting practices and the trappings of regular domesticity. Having artistically hip parents, one could pass this off as teenage rebellion if it wasn’t for the fact she is a decade too late for that.

 

The biggest difficulty I have in talking about the show is that it is very hard to describe without disclosing very important revelations about our comedic muse. There is a certain amount of time, place & circumstance about the show as it is, that any pre-knowledge would ruin the emotional empathy we have for her journey from hazelnut spread delirium to computational device rage.

 

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I can say there is music, burlesque, comedy (the most hilariously expressive eye movements in the business) and what I will describe as an audience participatory IVF game. I will also say that this is another highly citable example of an Australian burlesque aristocrat who is raising the bar by making a very personal story fit for the stage. In a world where burly-vaudeville is becoming as spontaneous as competitive ballroom dancing, Adult-ish is a drunken conga line with a limbo pole.

 

That should be reason enough to get a ticket for the remaining performances. See if she is still gainfully employed by the end of the week – anything could happen!

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 28th 2016 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

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