Larry Paradiseo and the Fabulous Dame Farrar
Judith Wright Centre & WIV
Judith Wright Centre
July 15 – 18 2015
Reviewed by Katy Cotter
A soft amber light shone down upon a grand piano on stage, though when act one commenced, the star appeared from the back of the theatre, sauntering through the audience with a very large (wait, is there such a thing?) martini glass. The Fabulous Dame Farrar was adorned in pink – everything pink – except for her ebony curls and sequinned purse. Oh yes, the diva had well and truly arrived. She was fierce, highly intoxicated, and ready to belt out a few tunes.
Like any good showgirl, she had the gift of the gab and spun a few stories about her gloriously tragic life and many, many lovers. I was magically whisked back to my childhood birthday parties, when there was always that one family friend who had a few too many shanties and got rowdy.
I’m certain we all have a Dame Farrar in our lives and thank goodness we do, otherwise how boring life would be.
She’s naughty and says all the things we wish we could. Though, laying one’s cards out on the table leaves them susceptible to a myriad of pains.
As the Dame continued to drink and to sing, she slowly began to break down until she was howling in a heap on the floor. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Ugh, the lament of a broken heart! Even though she kept the audience laughing, there were brief moments of truth, of bitter sadness that made me want to run up on stage and give her a big hug. As they say, the show must go on, and it certainly did. Dame Farrar bared all…well, thankfully not all. She may be a beautifully tragic diva but no matter how many times she tripped over, not a drop of liquor was spilt. Now that’s a professional!
Act two was all about the music-God, the ladies-man, the stud, Larry Paradiseo. He too cruised through the audience with winking eyes and wandering hands. The man had charm and charisma and he knew it all too well. It was as if the world had stopped spinning just for him and it was his sole purpose to woo every woman in the room.
Suddenly I was thinking about other male performers like Tom Jones, Robbie Williams and (unfortunately) Kanye West. There may be differing opinions on these men, but there is no denying the fact they know how to entertain; they have a certain persona that engages and attracts. They are so full of themselves that you can’t seem to tear your eyes away from them. Larry’s eyes were sometimes closed as he bent over fondling the microphone and was no doubt travelling to his inner core, his ego. Other times his eyes stared up at the heavens with his arms outstretched as if thanking the Gods for his extraordinary talents. But he always came back to Earth to lock eyes with another fair lady in the audience. It was when he sang, It’s Lonely at the Top, that there was a glimpse at the man behind the name Larry Paradiseo. It got me wondering how many celebrities are hiding behind their famous names. By the end of his act, it was obvious that Larry was done with hiding, and he threw his inhibitions (and clothes) to the wind!
Carita Farrer Spencer, the woman behind this deliciously wicked double-bill cabaret, is a truly outstanding performer.
She inhabits both characters with such commitment and passion. Dame Farrar and Larry Paradiseo are hilarious and wonderfully flawed, and audiences can’t help but fall completely in love with them. A one-woman show…no, one-man show…oh bother, a one-person show is no easy feat, however; Spencer commands the stage with an incredible voice and effortless comedic timing. This show had me laughing to the point of tears, and wanting to call up that crazy family friend for a night out on the town! Happy Scotch n Dry July!