Cocktails and cabaret make an excellent pair. In fact, without a decent dry martini, a cabaret act might end up being, well, too dry.
So when a reputable cabaret company comes up with the clever idea to set their entire performance in, around and on top of an actual bar, you know they’re onto something good.
Club Swizzle is the latest production by the people who brought you the fabulous antics of La Soirée. The troupe has been a fixture on the Perth Fringe World circuit for the past few years, and almost every one of their shows has been a sell-out, with regularly rotating casts, of course. It makes sense that their latest show isn’t being held in some makeshift tent but rather in the sturdy surrounds of… a disused fish market.
You kind of need all that bricks and mortar to contain the action-packed scenes that go on in Club Swizzle, where humble bartenders turn into astonishing acrobats in the blink of an eye, and divas shift from sipping Cosmopolitans to surveying the crowd from high up on a hoop suspended from the ceiling.
Yes, there’s plenty of circus performance in here. There’s also burlesque, cabaret, singing, dancing. And there’s a heck of a lot of comedy going on. This show, in fact, has it all.
Host for the evening, Reuben Kaye, wastes no time in cutting to the kinky chase, delivering little in the sense of slapstick but lots in the way of haute comedy. His use of innuendo is endless, so much so that by the time you’ve gotten a grasp of one of his dirty jokes, he’s already half-way through telling the next.
Kaye is splendid as the androgynous, ambiguous, and ambidextrous MC. A kind of Joel-Grey-from-Cabaret for the new generation.
He introduces an array of amazingly talented and multitasking artists, including charismatic acrobats Benjamin Lewis, Simon McClure, Will Underwood and Joren Dawson (each of whom could be placed in the category of hunk or spunk), tap dancer and singer Dandy Wellington, Belgian burlesque lush Laurie Hagen, and New York comic-come-skating-showgirl Amy G.
The laughs are aplenty and the action constantly happening around you. Even the transformation of the actual bar-top, from service area for genuine customers to lean on, to stage for all of the above, happens before your very eyes and is a key theme in the production.
Miss this, and you’re not seeing Fringe at its finest, funniest and most fabulous. Five stars, for sure. Antonino Tati
Club Swizzle is on at The Ice Cream Factory, 100 Roe Street, Northbridge. Season has been extended to March 4, 2018.
For full dates, times and ticket prices, visit www.fringeworld.com.au.
Photography by Hamish McCormick.