On A Night Like This – The Erin Minogue Story
Brisbane Cabaret Festival
Brisbane Powerhouse Turbine Platform
Sunday June 15 2014
Reviewed by Xanthe Coward
The “other other Minogue sister” stopped by Brisbane Powerhouse tonight to reminisce about old times and announce a new Minogue sisters’ tour. To Erin’s grave disappointment though – we discover via a phone call from her nan – she will actually be watching every show from the wings as the famous sisters’ quick change helper.
The premise alone is hilarious and Lizzie Moore is perfect in role as the “unknown” Minogue sister, Erin, not the slightest bit famous for teaching 3-8 year olds at her suburban talent school. We join her to do The Locomotion (she has everybody on their feet!), which she says she teaches to even her youngest students…so we should be able to do it! Of course we can do it! Earlier today, I’d asked Poppy, “Hey, do you know the famous pop star, Kylie, who did The Locomotion?” I start singing, “C’mon baby, do The Locomotion…” and I’m met with nonplussed silence. “Sure Mum.” I say, “Really? Do you?” And not to be put off so early in the conversation I add, “You know, Nanny made me a three-tiered hot pink satin skirt for the Year 7 dance. My primary school friends would remember that outfit! It was…awesome!” Not looking up she says, “Oh. Okay. No, not really, Mum. I don’t know who that is.” She continues playing Frozen Fall on my old iPhone. This disinterest from an eight year old who loves to sing and dance! (The moment is up there with similar responses to my very timely and clever references to Romy and Michelle, Ferris Bueller and a Delorean. She should be the most popular-cultured kid on the planet). Oh well. I’ll show her Kylie’s original film clip tomorrow. I’m sure she’ll be suitably impressed.
With Anthony Costanzo on keys as the accompanist D’Aaron (like L’Oreal), we experience a night of entertainment unlike any other, of imagined early memories, amusing (and cautionary) audition tales (damn that Tina Arena!), and the sort of sharp, caustic wit and dry satire we Aussies love to dish out amongst our own. Haters gonna’ hate y’all!
Entire segments of the show are dedicated to Kylie’s ex-boyfriends, featuring original arrangements by Costanzo of 1980s hits including Especially For You (a tribute to Jason Donovan) and Suicide Blonde (for Michael can’t-tell-his-scarf-from-his-belt Hutchence). There are a few swoons feigned around me, as images of each boy grace the big screen, and Erin’s obvious devotion to both stars elicits giggles and then fits of laughter. Moore’s sense of humour and her physical energy carry this show, which verges on clunky in parts and could probably be solved by a slightly faster pace and fewer distractions. She’s so funny to watch though so don’t look away! Moore’s choreography and facial expressions are comedy gold!
Oh yes. Distractions, what distractions? I hear you ask. Alright, I’ll tell you. The Turbine Platform is not my favourite space for this sort of performance and I wish I’d been able to focus more easily on Moore’s clean, strong vocals, made more difficult to hear over the
murmur dull roar of foyer voices and the clatter of restaurant plates and glasses. Ideally, this show would go into the Visy Theatre, below; a more intimate, slightly better sounding proscenium stage space with tiered seating. The show is pretty slick and it’s so much fun, it deserves a more suitable space. And a return season. Just saying.
On a Night Like This is a perfect piece as a stand-alone cabaret show or one half of a double bill, with a suitably sentimental story that never makes us cringe. It’s funny and it’s sooo daggy but it’s not dowdy, and it’s sweet without being saccharine and sad, just like the best school reunions and eighties parties oughta be. And I oughta know. Always leave before the dance floor empties. And don’t be devo’d when the cute boy turns out to be gay after all. Or married. Or dead boring. JUST SAYING.
Whether or not you’re a fan of the Minogues you’ll appreciate Erin’s story and enjoy her songs. Next time this show comes around, better go around, spin around, gather together some friends and go see it!