Posts Tagged ‘Cabaret


La Soiree


La Soiree

Featuring the stars of La Clique

Brisbane Festival

Courier Mail Spiegeltent

8th – 29th September 2012


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward



David O'Mer La Soiree


This is, without a doubt, the sexiest show you’ll see this Brisbane Festival. It’s my pick of the festival program and if you think something else can top it, you’d better let me know.


I would have posted my response to the show earlier, only I was still at the Brisbane Writers Festival yesterday, and today devouring a block of Lindt Chili Dark Chocolate in front of YouTube clips of the acts that make up this smash hit international success (don’t for a second think that the video footage will suffice. You must see these performers LIVE).



Within the intimate and glorious surrounds of the famous Courier Mail Spiegeltent, cabaret, circus, burlesque and comedy combine to titillate and tease a turned-on, ramped-up audience, offering tricks and toned bodies that have to be seen to be believed. It’s sheer fun (and games and look, it’s pointless labelling any of these guys Greek Gods; two in particular trump that title and have us chomping at the bit after just a glimpse of rippling muscle!). Ladies and gents, look out! In case you haven’t heard, this adults-only, world-class, Olivier Award winning show is hot, hot, HOT!


Up close and personal, the Master of Ceremonies welcomes us in ratchet tones, a scratchy voice after just one show (we saw the 9:30pm performance on opening night) and promises the night of our lives. Thanks to creator, Brett Barnum-Bailey-in-a-previous-life Haylock and the ever-evolving members of La Clique, La Soiree delivers, in abundance, on every level. There is nothing to fault here and everything to love…and lust after.


The English GentsDenis Lock and Hamish McCann – perform stylish and impressive feats of strength, control and balance to rival Cirque du Soleil’s best acrobats, all the while maintaining a very British stiff upper lip. At first, we marvel at their ability to perform fantastical feats in their pinstriped suits and bowler hats. Then we marvel at the incredible physiques underneath those suits. Yes, there were gasps from the audience. These two set the bar high and they leave us wanting more.


More comes in the comical form of New Yorker, Nate Cooper, in his Australian debut; a Charlie Chaplin inspired roller-skating act (and by roller-skating I mean tap-dancing in roller skates and not altogether successfully. Visions of Barbra Streisand’s Fanny Brice come to mind). Cooper is dressed in a surprisingly slinky number, which is revealed in a parody of the previous strip. Cooper’s antics are hilarious and my cheeks begin to ache after about half a minute into the act, long before he gets to the crux of it. He adds to his beauty queen outfit a red bobbed wig and a pair of ridiculously high Priscilla style platform shoes, in which he climbs up onto a pogo stick and commences jumping and juggling machetes. It’s insane. Do NOT try it at home.


The absolutely gorgeous Amy G has an extraordinary skill set that I’m not sure I envy but I’m certainly impressed by it! Her kazoo playing ability is off the charts but don’t try explaining it to the kids over bacon and eggs the next morning. Ursula Martinez performs the most entertaining and original strip you’re likely to see in a Queensland venue, combining effortlessly, sleight of hand and the art of tease. Martinez is gregarious, hilarious, mischievous and completely shameless. Hers is a brand of sizzling adult entertainment that is naughty, classy and irresistibly, deliciously funny. You can get a sneak peak here but only if you’re over eighteen.


Amy G and the English Gents

La Clique’s La Soiree performers Amy G, Denis Lock and Hamish McCann. Picture: Chris McCormack Source: The Courier-Mail


Andrew Sisters styled (Brisbane based ex-Circus Oz performer), Jess Love, takes to task a mass of hula-hoops and the lovely Miss Flee flies above us in a graceful and soulful trapeze. We’ve seen Martinez and Amy G pull props from all over the place but this rather more delicate act is enhanced by a parasol hung high in the air, overturning to let a cascade of tiny white feathers drift down over the audience in strange slow motion, like a moment from a Baz Luhrmann scene, at once slowing the pace and softening the tone of the show. In design also (and to its benefit), La Soiree appears to draw on a little Luhrmann (or, more accurately, a little Catherine Martin).


The return of each of The English Gents builds momentum again and makes us wonder, what do these guys EAT and where do they work out so we can WATCH? Lock reveals a fine singing voice and Japanese sensibilities, including the admirable feat of looking just as attractive as a fully clothed Geisha as a Sumo wrestler (the trimmest ever). McCann returns to put the world’s top female pole dancers to shame, stunning us with his arm and core strength. Spiderman’s got nothin’ on this guy, who walks up and across imaginary walls.




The dynamic cabaret diva, Meow Meow, almost steals the show with her Bette Midler meets Eartha Kitt meets Ab Fab usual fare. She’s the all-time favourite on the circuit and it’s not hard to see (and hear) why. This woman is all woman and then some, absolutely able to blow you away with her sensational style and special brand of seductive tragi-comedy. Her guest chorus and their Barbie choreography gets a giggle too.


But what’s a show without a grand finale? And boy oh Bathboy, has this show got it! Berlin born gymnast David O’Mer, aka “the Adonis in denim” (or, as my friend very cleverly commented, “catnip for women”), appears as any self-respecting modern day merman would, from a claw-foot bath, placed centre stage by the English Gents (it then becomes integral to his aerial ballet – the wettest and cheekiest strap act you’ll see). Clad in black skinny jeans, O’Mer is the epitome of male beauty, strength and coordination, regardless of your sexual orientation or passion or apathy for the subject. In fact, in light of the many and varied responses across the social media platforms to my previous comments about viewing male bodies on stage, I have to say that if you’re tempted to argue that the form or the look is unimportant, make sure you’ve seen the show and calmed down first. This is, as The Age acknowledges, the sexiest act around. Get a coveted (and slightly scary, in that awesome, unexpected random sexual encounter kinda’ way) Premium front row (ringside) seat if you can. I could say I bet you’ll get wet but it might come across as crass so I won’t.


La Soiree is to-die-for. It’s devastatingly funny and sexy, it’s witty, trashy and sophisticated all at once, like a bandaid worn under a Louboutin, and most importantly, it’s the best kind of European styled adult entertainment available in Brisvegas for just a very short time. You’d have to be stark raving mad to miss it!


David O'Mar Bathboy


Where the Wild Roses Grow

Where the Wild Roses Grow

Babushka Cabaret

10th & 12th May 2012

Reviewed by Sarah Knight

When I Google mapped (is that a verb?) the venue for Babushka Cabaret’s show Where the Wild Roses Grow, there was no venue…as such.

Situated at Hamilton Reach on Brisbane’s north side, in an abandoned warehouse, this is a typical Anywhere Theatre Festival venue.  The Anywhere Festival, in its second year, ‘reconnects audiences and communities with theatre, with storytelling and with performance… anywhere.’

As I enter the street for this ‘spooky warehouse’, as described on Babushka’s website, I am already getting the vibe for this show. Described as ’tales of murderous passion’, this is exactly the kind of place you would dump a body. Seeing no signposts I gingerly follow a car into what seems…well… let’s just say that parking was NOT an issue.  On a vast abandoned lot on the edge of the Brisbane River, where new cars were once unloaded from cargo ships, stands a small solitary warehouse. From the warehouse drenched in colourful lights, I can hear the sounds of Babushka’s femme fatales warming up so am relieved, this is the right spot.

The audience enters the warehouse through a door marked ‘bulk cargo’. Inside is pleasantly warm and cosy, softly lit with hues of blue and red. The intimate audience of 50 are set close to the staging area. Candelabras complete with burning candles send thin waxy trails of smoke up into the high ceiling. Slightly right of centre sits an electric piano. At the back are stairs that lead to a mezzanine office flooded with red light, where the warehouse foreman once worked.

The girls begin the show with Where the Wild Roses Grow by Nick Cave. Unamplified and a capella, dressed in black and red, the girls stand just inside the upstairs office doorway.  I am instantly struck by the power and beauty of their classically trained blended voices, which fills the upper reaches of the warehouse.

The show includes an eclectic selection of songs like Faure’s art song Prison, I’d Love to Kill You With a Kiss by Katie Melua and Sufjan Steven’s song about serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

The threads that connect the pieces of verse and narration include stories of murder and death. Like in the case of Dido’s Lament the the story of Gillian Barber who jumped from Brisbane’s Story Bridge to her death in 1996.

Babushka Cabaret’s line-up has changed since I last saw them. Missing are Alicia Cush (on maternity leave) and the hilarious Laura Coutts. Fantastic regulars Bethan Ellsmore and Michelle Bull are back and the beautiful, mezzo soprano Jade Moffat takes a guest spot. Moffat, seemingly new to cabaret performance does not exude the confidence of the rest of the group. This thought is momentarily dispelled with her stunning rendition of Purcell’s Dido’s Lament. Sung from the upper balcony, her voice, like syrup for the soul, fills the space and casts a spell on the audience.

Matthew Samer on keys is such a delightful accompanist. Positioned centre stage he is right in the thick of it, which is great. He has an eager smile and seems to enjoy the show, even chuckling at the jokes as he plays.

Half way through I became confused by the show’s direction; energy lagged and some narration threads seemed forced. I loved the absence of amplification that created a more intimate bond between performer and audience, however, at times lyrics were lost, mainly due to some overbearing keys. The tight harmonies and symbiotic singing this group are capable of was at times missing as well.

Ellsmore stole the show for me. On stage she is captivating. She has a carefree, take me as I am manner, which makes me watch her even more. Ellsmore switches from violin to playing the keys to belting her own original number Down by the Creek to ‘pinging’ top Cs (or higher) with ease.

The highlight performance of the night was Greenkeeper’s Lotion, a song about a killer (from the movie Silence of the Lambs) who gets girls to put lotion on their skin, then fillets them and makes clothes out of their skin and wears it. The Babushka girls were creepy and hilarious in this number and this performance sums-up everything I like about them. The gals of Babushka Cabaret may be classically trained but they are no self obsessed woofy opera singers. They are sexy, sassy and ready to tackle the absurd. Babushka Cabaret. Watch-out for their next cabaret mash-up.


Babushka Cabaret


theatre anywhere!

Between 10 – 19 May you’ll find new plays in alleys, puppets in bars, cabaret in warehouses, comedy in your home and office and performances you can be a part of online from Texas to London, Hamilton to Toowoomba.

Anywhere Theatre Festival is the brainchild of husband and wife power couple Paul Osuch and Alexandra McTavish. They’re pretty humble about conceptualising, developing and continuing to run the whole thing so when you see them around – anywhere but in a theatre for the ten days between the 10th and the 19th of May – please congratulate them and give them big hugs and a whole heap of love!

N.B. Some shows are already SOLD OUT!

What will you be seeing anywhere but in a theatre???

In the tradition of murder-balladeer Nick Cave, the femme fatales of Babushka invite you into their bloody nightmare to indulge in dark tales of murderous passion, sinister sirens and the infinite beauty of death in the debut season of Where the Wild Roses Grow.
Late night Cabaret at its finest.
DATES: Thu 10th & Sat 12th @ 9:30pm
PLACE: 275 Macarthur Avenue, Hamilton Reach

A family of Gremlins has taken residence in Brisbane. Roxoff, Mofball & Botolf Gromlot are trying to launch their new budget airline and fulfill their dream of flying. Tickets sales are going well, and their maiden voyage is due to take off shortly. There is only one problem….they haven’t built the plane yet.
DATES: Thu 10th to Sat 12th @ 7:00pm & Thu 17th to Sat 19th @ 7:00pm
PLACE: Reverse Garbage, 20 Burke St, Woolloongabba

As a collective the cast and the directors have come up with a collage of 5 scenes exploring life on the brink; public transport, romance, hospital drama and misadventure. 3 Windows will be an excellent opportunity to see Cinematic Theatre for and by Young People at it’s most vivid and vibrant… don’t miss it.
DATES: Fri 11th & Sat 12th @ 7:30pm
PLACE: 37 Manilla St, East Brisbane

Set in the heart of Fortitude Valley, four playwrights turn a dirty alleyway into the legends of nights out – where drunken youth roam free and the pavement becomes a stained and silent tapestry of history.
DATES: Mon 14th & Tues 15th @ 7:00pm ONLY
PLACE: Winn Lane, Fortitude Valley, 4005


10 Really Fast Festival Facts


1. Brisbane does it first
The 2012 Anywhere Theatre Festival is the only fringe festival in the world for performance anywhere but a theatre.

2. Already the biggest performance festival in Brisbane
The 2012 Anywhere Theatre Festival has over 50 productions and 200 performances already confirmed meaning it has more productions and performances than Brisbane Festival.

3. Attracting interstate and international
The 2012 Anywhere Theatre Festival features 6 companies from the U.K., Two from the U.S., one from New Zealand, Tunisia and France.

4. Brisbane proves it has a depth of untapped talent
Recognised companies such as Queensland Theatre Company and Circa Presents mix with independent and up and coming companies.

5. A theatre festival with performances on Twitter
A mix of international and local performances from streamed international performances to interactive augmented realities.

6. A Brisbane festival from the Sunshine Coast to Perth
Performance locations range from the Sunshine Coast down to the Gold Coast and across to Perth.

7. A two person volunteer team producing the biggest festival in Brisbane 
The festival is organised by a core husband and wife team over evenings and weekends with financial contribution from Arts Queensland.

8. Theatre Anywhere – even in your house
This year theatre anywhere will be taken to the extreme with performances you can book to come to your home or office! Other performances happening in elevators, parks, city cats (tbc).

9. A Brisbane idea to the world
The purpose is to bring fringe festival to everyone, especially to places with a lack of theatres. We are already discussing how the festival can move to regional centres and other states.

10. International institutions want to know how we do it!
Since the 2011 festival we have been asked to advise on how to do theatre anywhere and have an invitation from the Milan Commissioner of Culture to talk as they prepare for their 2015 Universal Expo.


An End To Dreaming

An End To Dreaming

Emma Dean & Jake Diefenbach

Judith Wright Centre

Friday 27th April

Reviewed by Andy Clark

My Favourite Sin(ger)s

Some singers are made to sing together – Emma Dean and Jake Diefenbach are definitely one of these perfect pairings.

I first saw Emma and Jake perform the lead song of their An End to Dreaming show before The Dresden Dolls played The Arena on Valley Fiesta Friday in 2006. That performance was emphasised by the specifically placed members of Zen Zen Zo in the audience, who performed above us, after we were all asked to sit on the floor. The song was a like a multicoloured chrysalis that was beautiful in it’s own way, but is primed for greater things in the future. It was showcased again as their Grand Finale number in 2009 when Emma and Jake did their Downside Up show at The Judith Wright Centre.

Friday night’s performance started with two very young and talented Brisbane singers who may one day be as accomplished as E&J. Pixie and the Halloran intersperse their beautiful songs with simultaneous talking that has been rehearsed to a tee. Dressed like they have just pranced in from the bottom of the garden, these Fairy-like singers bounce off each other’s voices with a lovely balance and only occasionally does the blend of their voices not create a dreamy sense of magic in the heads of the audience. James Halloran’s booming mellow voice dominated their show for me, which is hardly surprising as Indigo (Pixie) is unbelievably, only 16 years old; she is totally enchanting and will be a star before she’s 20.

However, they are but an appetiser for THE Show that is about to be unleashed on the lucky throng. Emma and Jake appear in the middle of The Judy between the tiered seats and the circular tables as if by magic. Cloaked in what look like black capes, they weave their way toward the stage, where their cloaks are seen to be blood red. Their show goes through stages of development from The Darkness with Emma’s song Black to The Light, via The Awakening, The Reckoning and The Healing, with a special moment when they perform the superb Stuck in the Mud.

Jake’s keyboard acrobatics are a sight to behold and he compliments Emma’s piano, violin & melodium. Their voices are very similar and merge and mix with each other so perfectly I hope they perform together forever.

The show climaxes with the 2012 version of An End to Dreaming, which meanders it’s way from deep and dark to spectacular and dramatic and it is a delight to see how this song has evolved into a multilayered, multicoloured butterfly.

Then just when you think it’s all over, they return for an awesome rendition of My Favourite Sins, to cap off an exceptional evening. Next stop for this spectacular show is the New York International Fringe Festival. Maybe the next stop after that should be not Briz Vegas, but Las Vegas?


Rachelle Durkin: Metropolitan Magic

In an Australian exclusive, New York based Metropolitan Opera soprano, Rachelle Durkin, will perform Metropolitan Magic for one night only on April 26th at berardo’s restaurant. Rachelle will be coming to Noosa after a month of performing the lead role of Violetta in La Traviata for Opera Australia’s critically acclaimed Opera on the Harbour extravaganza. The production will be screened on Foxtel’s STUDIO channel on Monday 30th April at 8:40pm.

She was last seen in Noosa on the big screen in December as the female lead in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Satyagraha (part of Noosa Cinema’s Opera at the Met season).

As well as performing with The Met over the past decade, Rachelle has performed internationally with Chicago Opera, Hawaii Opera, Lyric Opera of San Antonia, Bilboa Opera, Salzburg Festival, Bellingham Music Festival, Hong Kong Philharmonic and at Carnegie Hall.

In Australia she has performed lead roles with Opera Australia, West Australian Opera and Opera Queensland as well as performing as a soloist with many of the state Symphony Orchestras.

Although a much lauded opera singer, Rachelle is equally at home performing cabaret and musical comedy numbers. Metropolitan Magic will not only feature some great opera classics but will also include a little Bernstein, Sondheim etc.

Co-starring with Rachelle will be Mark Coughlan, a highly respected concert pianist, accompanist, musical director and compere, who has performed in Europe, South East Asia & Australia, including a critically acclaimed solo Beethoven recital at Sydney Festival.

This concert heralds the fourth collaboration between the Zonta Club of Noosa, berardo’s restaurant and Philanthropy Initiative Australia in presenting evenings of world class music to raise money for Zonta funded projects.

Previous Zonta concerts at berardo’s have featured Jane Rutter, Taryn Fiebig, Sara Macliver and Andrew Foote and have successfully raised thousands of dollars for such charities as United Synergies and Birth Kits Foundation Australia. Once again, all proceeds from this concert will go to Zonta supported projects including Cooroy Family Support Centre.

Rachelle Durkin: Metropolitan Magic

April 26 at 6pm at berardo’s restaurant & bar

$95 includes 3 course dinner with glass of sparkling wine on arrival plus 2 x 45 minute sets

Bookings: Carole Tretheway of Zonta on 0414 713955

Noosa Food & Wine Festival 2011 from Source Media on Vimeo.


Babushka at the Adelaide Fringe

When Brisbane girls, Babushka, headed to Adelaide for the Fringe Festival, they were determined to have the Full Fringe Experience. The girls fully embraced the notion of self-promotion and lived and loved the entire experience! Did you see them at the fringe this year? Michelle Bull gives us a glimpse into performing and touring life. Want to know more about Babushka? You can read Matthew Carey’s interview with the girls here.


It was with bellies full of butterflies and hearts filled with excitement that the five members of ‘Babushka’ touched down in South Australia to premiere our show ‘I can keep a secret’ at the Dragonfly Bar as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival 2012.

After battling a steamy cab ride to Clyde’s Cottage our cosy new home away from home, we settled in for a week of performances, promotion, fun and  inspiration!

Now I’ve been to my fair share of fringe festivals, but I have to say that this has been one of my top festival experiences to date. With over 800 acts showing every night of the week at numerous pop-up venues across the city, streets filled with buskers and visual art, free community events and concerts, artistic collaboration at every turn, time was precious, and we were determined to pack as much as we could into the eight days we had at the festival!

Our whirlwind season saw us perform in some capacity every day. The week began with the first of four performances at ‘Fringe in the Mall’, a free variety show set in a caravan stage in the centre of Rundle Mall, featuring short performances from various Festival artists. This was a fun-filled gig, with enthusiastic audiences, some awesome artists and lots of shameless self-promotion from us! (Promotion that continued both on and offstage as we teetered through the cities shopping centres in costume trying to navigate Adelaide’s public transport system!)

In these first few days, we sung our little hearts out, hung posters like madwomen, jumped on and off various pubic transport services and drank copious amounts of coffee before finally collapsing in a heap at ‘The Garden of Unearthly Delights’. It was here we managed to catch some fantastic acts.

The first was Hard Boiled Lolly, a cabaret doll come private eye, who through cartoon like characters and a pop song mash-up or two, delivered naughty cabaret fun that left us feeling like we’d wandered into the back alley of a pink panther cartoon. After such a fun show we returned to the Garden again and again throughout the week, catching acts such as the fabulous Barry Morgan’s World of Organs and The Pitt Brothers.

Other shows followed the saucy vibe as we ventured out to see Melbourne Cabaret’s people’s choice; Mercedes Benz…awkwardly at the fantastic pop up venue ‘Tuxedo Cat’. Adding to the show’s charm was the venue, an abandoned strip club complete with pole and carpeted podium! The show itself was both comical and confronting, the humour giving way to unexpected tenderness and brutal honesty by the end. It was easy to see why this show was a crowd pleaser!

However, although there was much more festivities to devour, we had a show to do! We opened ‘I can keep a secret’ at the Dragonfly Bar on Wednesday to an almost full house! This was the beginning of four fantastic shows with audiences who joined us in our little cabaret journey as we laughed, cried and shared a saucy secret or ten! Big shout out to the Dragonfly Bar, a gorgeous little venue with beautiful staff, even if they did surprise me with a vodka shot in my prop glass one night!

Fuelled with post-show excitement, each night we took once again to the streets, often catching a ride on the ‘Tour of the Unexpected’, a free shuttle bus service for festival patrons where anything could happen, and did! After performing an impromptu operatic-dance sequence with our Safari-suit-clad host, we bid the bus adieu and headed over to the Best of Fringe Variety, to perform a short ten-minute spot as part of this fun filled variety night.

The remainder of our nights were then often spent dancing and nattering away at the Fringe Club, a great venue for artists and festival workers to unwind and share stories, talents and everything in between!

Later in the week we took to the stage at this venue to sing a song or two and in the process met the amazing syllabically talented Abandoman!

It was this chance meeting that saw us end our Adelaide Fringe Festival with a bang, as we were invited to channel our inner operatic hip-hop, by adding some musical styling’s to Abandoman’s show at The PhatCave in the Garden of Unearthly Delights… who knew opera singers could groove?

So after an amazing week of singing, dancing, inspiration, and giggles, the following morning our little South Australian journey ended. We boarded the plane back to rainy Brisbane, grateful for the fun, but sad it was over! Adelaide Fringe Festival, you won our little Babushka hearts!


ZEN ZEN ZO Actor Training Week One or Ouch! How Much Will This Hurt?

My friend, Cathy Sheargold, decided to take on some awesome personal challenges this year. No one put her up to it, she’s just that kind of chick. I wonder how amazing we’d all be if we regularly took on similar “impossible challenges”. Not only physical, her latest self-set challenge is a giant mental and spiritual leap as well. Cathy is training with world-renowned physical theatre ensemble, Zen Zen Zo.

The company’s artistic vision is intimidating enough! The training is based on the Suzuki Method of Actor Training, the Viewpoints and  Butoh dance-theatre.  I’ve heard about the strenuous exercises and mad discipline for years, from many friends and from my sister (the one who ran off with the circus). I’ve seen the shows, by Lynn Bradley and Simon Woods’ and I am in awe of many of the performances. Their production of Cabaret won the Greenroom’s Groundling Award, voted for by the people, this year for Best Musical. I’m excited to see the direction Zen Zen Zo will take this year, with that dynamic duo at the helm, Michael Futcher and Helen Howard. Check out the company showreel. Cathy did. And she was afraid. Very afraid.

When Cathy told me she was about to commit to the series of workshops for adult actors, I asked her to vlog about it. Who could resist hearing about how much it hurts? With any luck, and with our interest and support, Cathy will continue to vlog weekly, her experience at Zen Zen Zo’s physical actor training sessions.

Come back every Tuesday until the end of March to find out what’s happening and exactly how much it hurts. Ouch!

Please leave you comments and questions for Cathy. And get ready to play the game!