REVIEW PERFORMING ARTS: A String of Coloured Lights & The Twink and The Showgirl

South Melbourne premier cabaret venue and Midsumma hub, The Butterfly Club, kicks off this week with two brand new shows. Including the cirque-themed A String of Coloured Lights to the decidedly campy The Twink and The Showgirl, The Butterfly Club yet again bring a night of experimental, daring and enjoyable cabaret to the Midsumma program.
REVIEW PERFORMING ARTS: A String of Coloured Lights & The Twink and The Showgirl
South Melbourne premier cabaret venue and Midsumma hub, The Butterfly Club, kicks off this week with two brand new shows. Including the cirque-themed A String of Coloured Lights to the decidedly campy The Twink and The Showgirl, The Butterfly Club yet again bring a night of experimental, daring and enjoyable cabaret to the Midsumma program. Anastasia Russell-Head and Dean Arcuri 'step right up' in A String of Coloured Lights, a strange and warped hour of music, introspection and storytelling. Thoroughly abstract and strange, the show deals with growing up, love and loss through disjointed monologue, physical theatre and musical interludes. The show is oddly put together, but clearly reflects the stories and emotions that the performers have to share with their audience. Their inner voices are often difficult to understand completely, reflecting the sheer personal nature of the subject matter. Musically, the show is quite good, but would have benefited from an additional accompanist. Anastasia seems rather uncomfortable with both playing and singing at the same time, harming her ability to emote and connect with her audience - a real shame for such a promising performer. The night continues with Phil Scott and Vincent Hooper's all-singing, all-dancing cabaret spectacular, The Twink and The Showgirl. Featuring Phil's wealth of cabaret and musical theatre experience and Vincent's prodigious talent, the two flit their way through the show: fun, flirtatious - and just a little filthy. The pair have a great chemistry on stage together, and it's clear that they have been working closely together for quite some time. Seamless transitions between songs, brilliant harmonies and a sparkling dialogue that would put the most acid-tongued queen to shame come together for a witty and polished performance. The show follows the words of its opening song – “Everything Old is New Again” – to the letter, melding traditional musical theatre numbers (Notably “Don't Rain On My Parade”) with pop music and recent musical theatre sensations. Much of the music has been reworked into new and interesting forms, with my personal favourite, "The Rentboy Medley" taking Mika into strange, wonderful and highly arousing places. Sexuality is a central theme of the show, with lewd jokes, off-colour references and stereotypes abounding. Within this sea of adults-only entertainment, however, the boys manage to keep within the bounds of taste while still leaving certain members of their audience (myself included) in fits of laughter in their seats. While not highbrow, the biting humour of the two (Phil in particular) is still clever and cerebral enough to make you think, occasionally stifling a snort several seconds later when the penny finally drops. Two new shows, a funky summer venue, lots of laughs and a gaggle of Midsumma devotees make The Butterfly Club the place to be this summer. A String of Coloured Lights and The Twink and The Showgirl run until Sunday. Don't miss Best of the Fest Friday and Saturday night! A String of Coloured Lights and The Twink and The Showgirl Midsumma Festival The Butterfly Club 22 Jan 2009

David Allen

Wednesday 28 January, 2009

About the author

David Allen is an editorial contributor for ArtsHub.