Photos – Jenny Hyatt
The newest production from Komissar Kabaret involves an entire choir, Canto Coro and having experienced performers on stage makes all the difference. Ela Filar makes unconventional, wild, colourful and spirited musical theatre and her latest show is more polished than its predecessors; because Komissar Kabaret is open to all to cut their teeth on musical theatre, the quality of performance can vary. This year's show is tighter and more strongly developed than previous years' productions, which means you get to really enjoy the strength of the songs and the dialogue. Krash Test Kulture takes an exuberant jab at cliches, stereotypes, internecine racism and all the sillinesses involved in prejudice with humour, irreverance, rhyme, satire, plays on word, one-liners ("next you'll be saying the goats asked for it!") and lots of bawdiness.
'Multiculturalism' can mean many things and occasionally it means putting people into boxes of difference regardless of what they might actually want; it can also mean overlooking the tensions between various ethnic groups and subcultures; both of these issues are here dealt with in an uncompromising fashion in a show that is a lot of fun. Krash Test Kulture was developed in collaboration with the cast; one of the nicer things about it is seeing the range of ages, colours and body types on stage; this year the youngest performer is 17, the oldest 70.
The large cast transforms itself into dole queue, a wedding crowd, departing passengers, an opera and a footy crowd by changing costumes and grouping and regrouping with much gusto gesture and some nice theatrical devices, in particular the 'bedroom scene' between bogan Shazza and her Bangladeshi boyfriend Rashid. The cast acts as a chorus and commentator, there are backdrops to illustrate various scenes (including one startlng picture of a vulva formed out of a tree trunk) and much colour and movement. There is no playing it safe, we are in the world of alternative cabaret here. Always with Filar's shows, the songs are impressive, in particular Takes One to Know One. The tumbling, crowded, ever changing imagery and tableaux underscore an original and witty show and, although still raw on some levels, Krash Test Kulture delivers its various messages without taking itself seriously, and with real aplomb.
Komissar Kabaret & Canto Coro
Krash Test Kulture
Directed & co-written by Ella Filar in collaboration with many story tellers
Venue: La Mama | 349 Drummond Street Carlton
Dates: 2 - 19 December, 2010
Times: 8pm; 6:30pm Wed, Sun
Tickets: $25 / $15 Concession
Bookings: 03 9347 6142 | lamama.com.au