Queer – The Wicked Webs We Weave

Glen Christie

ADELAIDE FRINGE: Charles Sanders' brand-new cabaret about the darker side of passion and desire features songs from the heart of hurt.
Queer – The Wicked Webs We Weave
At the 2011 Adelaide Fringe, Charles Sanders kicked off Early Worx in Theatre and Art with A Modest Exhibit, a cabaret performance memoir. This year he returns to dazzle and delight with his vocal brilliance, technique, and varied styles in Queer – The Wicked Webs We Weave.

Sanders takes us on a journey – in the wicked way that Early Worx does so well – through love, desire and sexuality, with monologue and song. In the intimate Art Base theatre at Higher Ground, Sanders is able to truly connect with his audience, and runs the gamut of high emotion, from the opening song – ‘Queer’ by Garbage, with Sanders appearing to channel the legendary Lizard King, James Douglas Morrison – to the closing number: Nick Cave’s ‘Into My Arms’.

The monologues include the recitation of a film script about a pair of star-crossed junkie assassins, readings from a classic romance novel, and the tale of a gay 13 year old boy and his harrowing, devastating love affair with an older male – with disastrous consequences for all.

Sanders’ performance epitomizes burlesque cabaret, supported by an equally talented backing band. We see glimpses of the great stage seducers – Jim Morrison as previously mentioned, as well as Janis Joplin, Chrissie Amphlett and Prince – and a moving portrayal of a scared and scarred young boy, which is painfully brilliant to watch.

The music comes from the heart of hurt and includes Amy Winehouse, REM, Nick Cave, Prince, Kate Bush, The Supremes and Radiohead. The songs are emotional, sensual, sexual or violent, and the pleasure and pain are etched in Sanders voice and physicality.

My only criticism – and it is minor, indeed – is with the closing exposition, where Sanders explains what it’s all been about – it didn’t detract from the show, but felt like an unnecessary explanation.

This show speaks for itself through its words and songs. Let Early Worx, and the voice of Charles Sanders speak to you, too.

Rating: 4 and a half out of 5 stars

Queer – The Wicked Webs We Weave
A Cabaret Show by Early Worx
Performed by Charles Sanders and band
Directed by Velalien
Vocal Performance Coach: Catherine Campbell

Higher Ground – Light Square February 25, March 16 and March 7

Adelaide Fringe
February 24 – March 18
www.adelaidefringe.com.au

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Glen Christie is a graduate of the University of Tasmania and recipient of the Country Club Casino Theatrical Development Award and Adelaide Critics Circle Award Winner. He trained as a secondary Drama teacher and Arts Manager, has worked for the Adelaide Fringe and Adelaide Festival Centre, is a founding member of Acorn Productions (SA), and a veteran of the South Australian amateur theatre scene.