BWW REVIEW: SYDNEY CABARET FESTIVAL: Camp, Clever And Deliciously Dark, REUBEN KAYE Is Intelligent, Electric, And Energetic Cabaret That Knows No Limits.
Friday 12th July 2019, Seymour Centre
The irreverent and intelligent Reuben Kaye returns to Australia to share his brilliant brand of social commentary and camp cabaret in his self-titled show REUBEN KAYE. Originally from Melbourne, the London based glamazon delivers a glorious blend of scripted storytelling, quick witted improvisation, audience engagement and the odd song or two.
Down in the basement space of Capriccio's (normally the Sound Lounge at Seymour Centre), the towering Kaye, made even higher in stacked stilettos, is already working the room as the audience enter. He is a striking man even without the fabulous footwear. While definitely masculine, Kaye sports black heavily lashed eyes, a bold glittered red lip and makeup that highlights his incredibly beautiful bone structure to create a splendidly intriguing camp expression of his persona. His signature black pants and suspenders with crisp white shirt are accented by a jewel encrusted red smoking jacket and impressive cocktail rings adorn his fingers.
The show is loosely an exploration on how the man on stage came to be, from only son of artistic parents, to the high energy whirlwind with a wickedly fast mind and fantastically filthy vocabulary. While the tables closest to the stage are natural fodder for his comic asides as they sit right in Kaye's eyeline, no seat is really safe as he totters through the tables to interact with the audience, slinging amusing insults and super-fast assessments of the crowd. While it is useless to try to avoid being drawn into his act, it is recommended to hold on to your glass if his trademark horse tail microphone is given more swish than a startled pony.
Even though Kaye has been living in London for the past four years, he has kept across local politics and social issues and his social commentary is wonderfully on point. It is satisfying when he turns the tables on society's usual structure, ensuring that it is well and truly clear that the intimate room is a safe space for the queer community and women and hetero men are for once don't have the power they are used to. His performance style, when he does return to the planned performance is bold and powerful with a dark overtone, and when paired with the lighting design which tended more to the red spectrum, feels like Kaye could quite easily be a camp King of Hades and this time everyone wants to enter the underworld.
REUBEN KAYE delivers a brilliant night of intelligent and off the wall no-holds-barred cabaret that will have you roaring with laughter. A must for anyone with a sense of fun, appreciates clever cabaret and doesn't shock easily.
Photos: John McRae