Rosie Portelou made a return to Perth for one night only as part of the Fringe Festival last night, and delighted the sold out crowd. While the disclaimer states “Any similarities to existing people are purely coincidental”, this show is clearly a parody of the wife of a certain Western Australian iron ore magnate. The story itself is the stuff soap operas are made of, so creator and performer Analisa Bell had nothing but great material to base her show, Gold-Digger: the Shags to Riches Story of Australia's Iron 'ore, on.
With musical accompaniment by Tim Cunniffe, Bell chose a selection of covers and original songs to tell the story of Rosie’s past, her journey to Australia and her subsequent relationships. The highlight for me was the “boxing match” between Rosie and her stepdaughter “Nina”. Playing both characters in the hostile relationship, Bell presented an abridged version of the fights, media sledging and court battles between the reluctant relatives through the genre of musical comedy.
Rosie’s dancing, pink poodles made a glittery entrance in the second half of the production with some fancy footwork and hilarious facial expressions. I would have loved for them to do a little back up singing as well.
Another dimension of the cabaret genre that has the ability to both amuse and strike fear into audiences is the dimension of participation. Getting the audience involved in some way has been a defining feature of all the cabaret shows I have seen at the Fringe so far. Rosie, as expected, found herself a suitable looking gentleman in the audience and quizzed him about things like his bank balance, the size of his... house and his health. “Do you have a heart condition?” she asked then cheekily answered for him; “never mind, I will give you one”.
The show concluded with Rosie’s love tips on how to attract and keep your man. The bawdy comedy went over very well with the audience, who by then were eating out of the palm of her hand. Regardless of how the woman herself may have been perceived, Rosie Portelou is an endearing, mischievous little lady.
Gold-Digger: The Shags to Riches Story of Australia's Iron 'Ore
Venue: The Treasury Cabaret | Corner St Georges Tce & Barrack St Perth
Dates: 6 Feb, 2012