VarieteLeft - The English Gents

The tribute to the Spiegeltent celebrates a centenary of ‘travelling Kabarett salons’. The mirrored tents, created in the early 20th century, were used as travelling dance halls, bars and entertainment salons. Built in 1920 by master craftsmen Oscar Mols Dom and Loius Goor, The Famous Spiegeltent is one of the last remaining. A mélange of wood, mirrors, canvas, leaded glass and velvet, it has been brought to life over many years by some of the world’s greatest cabaret artists, musicians and circus burlesque performers.

Although no Spiegeltent, the Space Theatre does its best to bring The Famous Spiegeltent magic to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The assembly of the room works a treat. No apparent front of stage leaves guests to anticipate from where the next performer will appear. Not only does this add to the excitement of the act, but enables the privilege of ‘best seat in the house’ to be shared.

Spotlight one and our gaze is upon ‘Bull of the Bulkans’ Mikelangelo, front man of Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen (think The Munsters meets Nick Cave) and our capable host for the evening. Accompanied by a pianist, his theatrical charm and baritone voice stand the audience to attention. The high-energy musician weaves and woos his way through the crowd, breaking into dialogue with anyone in his path at a whim.

Also strutting their Spiegel stuff is Moira Finucane (The Burlesque Hour), Ida Barr, Ursula Martinez plus a host of others including the old ‘let’s stick sharp instruments where they probably shouldn’t go’ routine and the slightly predictable trapeze act.

With such an assemblage of performers, there is something to please most tastes. Each spectator would have their own personal favourites, for me it was The English Gentlemen. You may have seen this duo busking around Adelaide come Fringe time (you wouldn’t forget them larking about in their Union Jack lycra briefs), or as part of previous Spiegeltent shows like La Clique: A Sideshow Burlesque. A polished and perfected routine, their animated facial expressions captivate just as much as their almost superhuman feats of strength as they lift and balance one another. The mimed performance mixes circus burlesque with a dash of Charlie Chaplain style theatre.

One coffee served straight up by Finucane as performance art waitress delights and disturbs at the same time. Ida Barr, performed by Chris Green, is another who is scarily infectious, or is it infectiously scary?!? She coins her blend of grandma rap ‘artificial hip hop’. Part monologue of her ailments, part gangsta rap, Green’s alter ego does her best to get the crowd rappin’ and rhymin’ along.

This show is a crowd pleaser, however punters who have seen La Clique: A Sideshow Burlesque may be better off with a different pick given a number of the acts and material is very similar, if not the same.

In the spirit of the sideshow the audience gasp and woo their way through the acts. Several of the featured artists also have solo gigs as part of the Cabaret program, so as well as being a good way to sample the talent on offer, Variété creates a little bit of magic for all.

An Homage to The Spiegeltent

Space Theatre
7pm 8-9 June, 9pm 9 June, 11pm 9 June
$36 Conc $32
|1 hr 10 mins
BASS or 131 246

{mosgmap mapid=4}

Most read Adelaide reviews

Bees, death, astrophysics, entymology, string theory, words, and most of all, relationships are...

Now playing Adelaide