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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.

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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 2017 Review – The Little Death Club

I love a good vulgarian, and Bernadette Byrne brings it in spades. Admittedly I was a little confused to whether she was Weimar-era German, or East European Roma ‘Gypsy”, or transiting France – her accent seemed to shift with her particularly dirty ditties – but it is nice to know many profanities are truly universal. And her songs have a certain Gogol Bordello euro-punk energy to get your toes tapping or monkeys spanked.

As host of the orgasmically alluding “Little Death Club”, she is the ring-mistress to a changing stable of Fringe performers unlikely to be purveying their particular post-9pm wares on the public Rundle Mall stage.

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On this particular evening we had Asher Treleaven – a bookish thespian invoking prose from a no-doubt black-label Mills & Boon. Treacle thick words like aural Viagra are dispensed with good humour and instruction, lest any gentleman caller be unsure how to ring a fair lady’s doorbell.

Physical comedy clown Dimitri Hatton could have been regarded as a walking volume of that 1970’s classic – The Joy of Sex – albeit without the intellectual distance, artistic form or a suitable partner. However, filled with joy he was, and keen to pour it over unsuspecting audience members.

Gypsy Wood was Miss Teen South Carolina – all drawl and glitz as she interpretive danced her way across stage in a manner that left us periodically cringing from the punch line to her routine.

Jess Love is a wonderful mixture of hilarious apathy, surliness and high skill on hula hoops. Having seen her before in previous years, it was a treat to see her circus skills in high rotation once again.

Fortunately this show is a long run Royal Croquet Club fixture, meaning you have the rest of Fringe to find an available show among the near daily offerings, and with the rotating line up, you can probably go more than once – which gives you a chance to learn Bernadettes Beer Hall anthems to hedonism.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 27th 2017 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Music,Reviews | Comments (0)

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.

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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)

Adelaide Fringe Review – Scarlett Belle’s Scarlett Letters

 

 

The language of erotic seduction is not French.

Italian? Understandable assumption, but incorrect.

Some suave Spanish? Very wide of the mark, I’m afraid.

There can be little doubt that nothing quite gets the oxytocins flowing like a good Scottish brogue, on either a man or woman for that matter.

 

Adorned in Eye’s Wide Shut masks in the dim ambiance of La Boheme, we the audience are inducted into this privileged circle of erotic reflection under the dulcet tones of a deep male voice best reserved for reading the shipping news, relating a scene of impending orgiastica. It is then our Edinburgh-based muse of amore, Scarlett Belle, takes the stage to conduct us through an episodic exploration of her sexual awakening from childhood to womanhood, in a sometimes confrontational confessional manner.

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But this is no Mea Culpa performance. Defiantly proud of the experiences that made her who she is – she tackles difficult subjects such as a child’s first understanding of sexual feelings, the inevitable teenage mating disaster, the effects of internet porn, drugs & sex and the exploration of veiled sexual modalities not approved by polite society and the local Vicar.

 

Well-constructed, hilarious but engaging monologues for each chapter in life challenge our understandings of the blurred lines between love and sex, and make us perhaps uncomfortably dwell on our own experiences. However, unlike Scarlett, few of us have the polished vocal chops to engage in such biting reflection on social mores through rip roaring show tunes and vaudeville smarts.

 

This doesn’t have to be a Fringe show. It is really bigger than that. It deserves to be bigger and maybe will over time.

 

Wouldn’t it be good to say you saw it first in the intimacy of a 50 person venue right at the start?

 

Sure it would….book here.

 

 

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 22nd 2016 | Filed in Cabaret,Culture,Music,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

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