Who Is Dani Cabs?
Boundary Street Markets
May 14 – 21 2015
Reviewed by Katelyn Panagiris
Performed by Daniel Cabrera and presented by Kate McDowell as part of Anywhere Theatre Festival, Who is Dani Cabs? is an exploration of identity – of childhood, of being a first generation Australian and ultimately, of finding your place in the world. Part stand up comedy, part theatre; this performance reminded me of the notion that we are all playing the main character in our very own epic (and sometimes mundane) life story.
Cabrera is a charming and charismatic performer with more than enough energy to fill the small outdoor performance space at the entrance of Boundary Street Markets.
The show follows Dani Cabs’ life story, from growing up in the Western Suburbs of Sydney to his short-lived career as an aerobics instructor on the Costa neoRomantica cruise ship. The performance is full of dancing, shouting, cheering and all sorts of joyful movement full of bravado and passion.
Over the 60-minute performance, the insecurities, hopes and dreams of Dani Cabs are laid bare for the audience to see. Assisted by a small projector and minimal costuming (not much was left to the imagination), Cabrera told stories of his Uruguayan background, and shared with the audience (quite literally) the traditional Uruguayan drink mate. He told stories of his childhood escapades, taking to the streets with his macho friend “caba” by his side. He also told the hilarious story of his family camping trip and how he was given the name ‘Dani Cabs’.
It is in these moments of sincere, heartfelt storytelling that both the performer and performance shines.
However, when the focus shifts away from the story and towards making the audience laugh or getting them physically involved, I feel disengaged. In these moments too, the pace and flow of the piece is disrupted and jokes fall flat. I believe this is a result of the structure, which could be tightened to fully showcase Cabrera’s talent as a storyteller.
Although a little rough around the edges, Who is Dani Cabs? is an enjoyable and personal performance. There are some great laugh out loud moments, such as the short films that play during transitions and the tongue in cheek jokes about the cultural melting pot of the Western Suburbs. While there is room for this piece to be polished and refined, I leave feeling as though I’ve had a special peak into the exciting life of Dani Cabs.