BWW REVIEW: SYDNEY CABARET FESTIVAL: Fun And Intimate, CHEEKY CABARET Is A Classic Cabaret Circus Experience
Saturday 13th July 2019, 7pm, Seymour Centre
The intimate Brunswick Picture House's small stage cabaret CHEEKY CABARET brings the burlesque and circus element to the inaugural SYDNEY CABARET FESTIVAL. From the creators of LA SOIREE and CLUB SWIZZLE, the cabaret circus took over the Seymour Centre's York Theatre, temporarily renamed VALHALLA.
The Valhalla stage consists of a small raised circle and a rear tiki bar which transforms into a second performance space. Strings of lights radiate from above the circular dais and illuminated chevrons flank the stage. Around the center stage, on The York theatre's normal stage, two rows of traditional cabaret tables and chairs are arranged with the remainder of the audience occupying the lower levels of the traditional theatre/lecture hall seating with the space shrunk with the aid of black drapes.
As with LA SOIREE and CLUB SWIZZLE, CHEEKY CABARET is a variety show of acts typically seen in circus cabaret, from slight of hand and juggling to burlesque, singing and aerial work. For the Sydney Cabaret Festival season they have bought juggler Mario, Queen of the Circus, comic hula hoop performer Eloise Green, aerial straps artist Ben Lews and guitar playing contortionist David Carberry along with guest opening act Reuben Kaye and special feature from Festival Artistic Director Trevor Ashley.
While the title and marketing indicates that this is a risqué performance it tends more to the tame side of cheeky compared to other contemporary work. Burlesque dancer Lily Martinez has headed the advice of You Gotta Get A Gimmick as she removes her clothes to street busker sleight of hand and Mario Queen of the Circus does an on stage costume change but these really are as daring as it gets from a visual standpoint. Reuben Kaye's quick wit and Trevor Ashley's solo song delve into darker and bluer humor.
The stand out pieces are Lews straps act where there bare chested athletic form flies over heads, Green's Eastern European comedy routine that engages with the audience, and the dark and sultry duo presenting an acrobatic and aerial work. For those that caught Reuben Kaye's solo show, it was delightful to get another taste of the Aussie export as he gets the show started with his trademark tornado of energy. For fans of Trevor Ashley, it was a treat to see him reprise one of his Diva's, donning the lycra and long black wig as Cher.
CHEEKY CABARET is an easy evening of light entertainment that allows audiences to experience a range of talents over the two hours of theatre
Photos: John McRae