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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)

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.


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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