BWW Reviews: ADELAIDE CABARET FESTIVAL 2014: VINYL VIAGRA Discloses the Naughty Side of Rhonda Burchmore

BWW Reviews: ADELAIDE CABARET FESTIVAL 2014: VINYL VIAGRA Discloses the Naughty Side of Rhonda Burchmore

Reviewed Sunday 8th June 2014

Rhonda Burchmore took a walk on the wild side, scouring through the music of the bold and the wicked women of the past and the present. There is certainly no shortage of material. In Vinyl Viagra, written and directed by Dean Bryant, and with Matthew Frank as Musical Director, there is no shortage of laughs in the patter, plenty of pace, and a host of great songs.

Burchmore explains that, as her shows are usually filled with show tunes, and having been associated with works such as Candles by Candlelight, and the amazing Hot Shoe Shuffle, she has a 'nice girl' image. She explains that there is another side to her at the after-parties. Ruda Brickmore, thanks to a typographical error in a London newspaper early in her career when she was playing opposite Anthony Newley in his show, Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, is her alter ego, who materialises for this production.

Sophie Tucker's big hit, Last of the Red Hot Mommas, set the scene for the show, and gives Ruda a chance to make fun of a number of modern artists. In a huge time jump, her second number was by Christine Aguilera, the first of many to be filtered through Matthew Frank's inventive mind and Burchmore's phenomenal talent. Some of Bette Midler's dirty jokes were revealed, threatening damp underwear in the audience, then back to the Swing Era, for an arrangement of the Glenn Miller favourite, In The Mood. This had toes tapping and hands clapping in time.

Two male dancers flanked Burchmore for a good part of the evening, also dancing to instrumentals to cover her costume changes. Let's faces it, it wouldn't be a Burchmore show without an array of eye catching costumes. It wouldn't have been a cabaret show without at least once visiting the musical, Cabaret, and Big Spender gave her a chance to show her sultry side.

Burchmore is song and dance lady of the first order who really knows how to please an audience. Marlene Dietrich takes us back to early German Kabarett once more, with Falling in Love Again, segueing into a swinging version of I Touch Myself, which had everybody clapping along again, and laughing fit to burst. There was no let up in this terrific show, but all of her shows are like that, packed with song, dance, and fun. As far as Adelaide audiences are concerned, Burchmore can do no wrong, even when her jokes get raunchy and politically incorrect. Perhaps that is when we love her most of all.

She can get away with anything in Adelaide, even when she tells us, I'm a Barbie Girl. Yes, her repertoire was that diverse, and she got a few laughs out of that song, which surprised people when she changed her wig at the start. We didn't see that one coming. Even Wrecking Ball sounds great when Burchmore gets hold of it. She even gets mileage out of The Locomotion, with an enthusiastic audience sing-a-long. It is easy to see why she was given this year's Cabaret Icon Award.

It was with some reluctance, and wearing smiling faces, that the audience finally left the theatre. Come back soon Ruda Brickmore and Rhonda Burchmore. We love you both.

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Barry Lenny Born in London, Barry was introduced to theatre as a small boy, through being taken to see traditional Christmas pantomimes, as well as discovering jazz and fine music at a very young age. High school found him loving the works of Shakespeare, as well as many other great playwrights, poets and novelists. Moving to Australia, he became a jazz musician, playing with big bands and his own small groups, then attended the Elder Conservatorium of Music at the University of Adelaide, playing with several orchestras. This led to playing in theatre pits, joining the chorus, playing character roles, playing lead roles (after moving into drama), then directing, set and lighting design, administrative roles on theatre boards and, finally, becoming a critic. After twenty years of writing he has now joined the Broadway World team to represent Adelaide, in South Australia. Barry is also a long time member of the prestigious Adelaide Critics Circle.