Josie Lane is a lady with a touch of trash and her cabaret Josie in the Bathhouse is wonderfully steamy. It is very difficult to believe that this production being so fresh and so immaculately delivered, harks back to Bette Midler’s 1970’s gay bath house shows. With its often raw humour and rough language, coupled with adult themes this is raunchy strut-your-stuff performance with Josie being bawdy, brazen and, sometimes, philosophical.
From the moment her band – dressed in bathrobes – strikes up and Josie sensually insinuates out of the bathtub that holds centre stage, she grabs her audience by the private parts and their hearts and minds follow. “What’s My Name … it’s Josie Lane” she sings but no one can forget it because Ms Lane has immense stage presence, a fine voice and she works the crowd with equal measures of sweetness and sass.
While admittedly formulaic, her show is head and shoulders above most cabarets this season. She knows that “Pretty Legs and Great Big Knockers” keeps 'em comin' back for more. The temperature’s rising with anecdotes and Josie “In the Mood” with undulating hips and swinging band. It’s good old-fashioned burlesque at times with a ye-olde musical hall quality too. She cleverly steers away from crudity and rests her performance on innuendo and nuance. Mind you, she has an insatiable appetite for drive-thru McDonald’s and it’s a guaranteed happy-ending meal. Best leave the rest to the imagination. But this piece is funny, sharp and created with love and care. It’s enough to have the audience at the edge of its seat. With the bump and grind mixed with fries and cheeseburger, it’s the saucy hit of the evening. In fact, there are quite a few highlights and one has to marvel at Ms Lane’s sheer stamina at times and at others the intimacy she creates with lighting and smooth vocal delivery. Her singing throughout is top drawer.
With big ballsy ballads, quirky sex songs, soulful tunes, decent jokes and even the obligatory “Ukelele Lady,” Lane has all the bases covered. Overall, Josie in the Bathhouse is sensational.
2011 Adelaide Cabaret Festival
JOSIE IN THE BATHHOUSE
Venue: The Space
Dates: 17 - 19 June, 2011
Times: 8:15pm (17), 7:00pm (18) & 6:00pm (19)
Duration: 1 Hour