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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 Review 2017 – Becky Lou’s Real Woman

It is rare to attend a burlesque show and find one is in fact witness to a journey akin to Inanna’s Descent Into the Underworld. Just as the Goddess of Love, War, Fertility & Wisdom is forced to shed garments the deeper into the chthonic realms she descends, so too Becky Lou’s “Real Woman” sheds the accoutrements of her Art to face a climatic realisation of self-knowledge.

Burlesque may be glamour, but the root meaning of glamour also pertains to illusion. For many, the illusion is important (and valid) because it is aspirational fantasy. And clearly amongst the burlesque sorority (and emerging fraternity) bonds are made between performers of rare strength. But what happens when one achieves reputation as a strong powerful woman, independent, free and artistic – but emotionally your innermost being still feels like a stage kitten, picking up after the main act?

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Real Woman is therefore not a burlesque cabaret performance as such, but it is a show about burlesque – in so much as it has been an important way point on a bigger expedition.

She openly reminisces on the projections ingrained into young women as teenagers through to their thirties, which may trigger your own memories about how you learned sexual realpolitik, the power imbalances in gender, and how you overcame the societal programming. Or maybe you didn’t? Or maybe you were on the other side of that equation? On the turn of an anecdote we frequently slid from hilarity to deep introspective thought. Or tears. Our silences were the bookmarks between her time-travelling chapters.

Let it be said, Becky is a cabaret psychopomp who never carelessly played with our emotions, but gave us our own informed opportunity to engage with them. And I hasten to add, that she refused to leave us in the underworld. Kicking and screaming we were regularly dragged from melancholy into rapturous delight, a seasonal & cyclical re-emergence into the upper world.

Expect this show to make you laugh and cry simultaneously. And it is going to feel awkward. That may be something to be thankful for.  There is an excellent run of shows left over the remainder of the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 8th 2017 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,People,Reviews,Theatre | 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)

Adelaide Fringe Review – Love, Loss & Latte’s

 

 

 

Love, Loss & Latte’s will linger like the flavours of a fine single origin roast, carefully ground and extracted at the perfect temperature.

A mixture of callisthenic movement, dance, aerial circus and monologue – Missy takes us on her personal journey with the roasted bean soup many of us love, maybe rely upon. And the point well-made is that everyone in modern society has a relationship with coffee – whether as a lover or an avoider. But it is inescapable, ubiquitous, both overtly and subtly punctuating waking moments of the world around us. Even in a society which forgoes their relationship with alcohol – coffee is the forgivable sin.

But it is both remedy and poison.

Coffee can be both an aid to endurance during our years of study, as it was for Missy’s, but it can also accentuate our very restlessness and our dissatisfaction. That difficult balance is expertly explored on a vertical pole, a cup of joe being expertly balanced upon outstretched appendages as Missy performs manoeuvres requiring a degree of muscle strength and anatomical prowess well beyond any initial illusion of her diminutive frame.   Even planted upon her head – always on her mind, even if unconsciously- it is ever present as she picks up the pieces of her life around her, this paradoxical movement & stillness frequently the utopian relationship we may strive for.

But withdrawal from this liquid life’s staff is no easy matter. The cravings and debilitation are palatable in Missy’s primal movements. If a cup of strong, black coffee was trying to beguile me – I’m sure it would also be speaking in seductive German and sounding like Blixa Bargeld over post-rock noisescapes. Upon the aerial silks, the long slow climb to detoxed functionality is marked with sine-wave crests and troughs, jaw dropping somersaults and spins being performed before us as she clutches on by the barest of handhold and foot bind. The metaphor of addiction has ever been thus.

But when the coffee is good, and the mind-body axis is prepared, it is the catalyst to creativity and productivity. To making good art, innovation– even fixing the world’s problems. Or just your own. Mental clarity at its sharpest, finding ourselves in that slipstream of mental flight. Much like Missy on a suspended aerial ring, not grappling desperately at the device swinging before us, but at one with it. She majestically moves, contorts, slides and curves on this pendulum, but always in total freedom.

There’s a few shows left this weekend – if you are a tea drinker, come to the dark side.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 27th 2016 | Filed in Cabaret,Culture,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

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