Brisbane Powerhouse & Albert and Valentine
Brisbane Powerhouse Graffiti Room
December 10 – 13 2015
Reviewed by Meredith Walker
Cabaret stars Tom Albert and Samuel Valentine, renowned for their Short+Sweet winning work Dirty Sexy Politics, last seen in June’s Queensland Cabaret Festival, are back with a new scheme to attain wealth and power. This time they’re turning to the dark side with comical attempt to talk to the dead in Occult Impresarios.
Whether believer or not, audiences members are sure to be entertained by the work, which uses pace to engaging effect,examining the role that séance plays in the modern world by showing what an early-19th century colonial administrator, a disgraced scientist, a prominent British author and a distant relative all might have in common. From card tricks to spirit slates, blankets and mediums, the show has everything to be expected from the dark and magic arts, all revealed with tongue-in-cheek tone. And the spookily lit and soundtracked Brisbane Powerhouse Graffiti Room setting also suits the context, making moments of audience interaction appear as intimate as the show’s séance silences.
As impresarios, Albert and Valentine’s power is great. They are both talented performers who have an engaging charisma that welcomes audience participation and when appearance is that Valentine is being tortured towards other-world admission, audience members become torn between wanting to shirk away from the view or look on, entranced.
Far from your everyday theatre experience, Occult Impresarios has a curious appeal.
The premise is not only interesting, but is perfect for larger than life examination as the duo guides the audience through the supernatural using ‘magic’ trickery. And its hour-long running time will find itself flying by in audience absorption of its revelations as much as its entertainment.