Jack and Jill | Madness and TeaCast your self back into the gritty underworld of Victorian London in this sinister tale of the villainous duo Jack and Jill, as they work their way through the city streets on a murderous rampage.

With poison as their chosen means of murder, the two sometimes-lovers Jack (Lee Mason) and Jill (Nichola Jayne) kill for both money and pleasure, taking joy from mixing concoctions and outdoing each other with their deadly devices.

However, this is not your run-of-the-mill murder mystery. Joined on stage by an array of cabaret artists, burlesque performers and a magician (!), Jack and Jill wavers between straight play and vaudeville act.

There is a lot going on in this performance, a large cast, squeezed into the confines of the recently relocated Butterfly Club and sold out venue made the sound quality poor and I fear some of the humour was lost when dialogue was missed. Also going against this performance was time. Running at just over an hour, the characters (in particular Jack and Jill) hadn’t a chance to develop and the supporting cast were left looking two-dimensional.

Christian Bizzarri as the bumbling Detective Black garnered many laughs from his carefully crafted portrayal of the hopeless law enforcer, and Magician Richard Vegas brought a new element to the production with his street magic and enigmatic charm.

A new work by Madness and Tea, Jack and Jill has many hilarious moments, but the plot is slightly hit-and-miss and feels underdone at times. While the characters have little chance to develop, the audience is given less of a chance to either relate to or like them.

Mason played the charismatic Jack, with an awkward intensity that was difficult to not get caught up in and the performances from the younger members of the cast were delightful.

The audience were encouraged to dress up in Victorian costume and some met an untimely death with audience participation being taken to the next level by the production team.

Jack and Jill was great fun, and will no doubt do well on the Melbourne cabaret scene. An almost sold out season proves that the audience for live theatre is alive and well… Well until the Poisoners of London get their hands of them that is…

Madness and Tea presents
Jack and Jill, The Poisoners of London

Venue: The Butterfly Club | 5 Carson Place Melbourne CBD
Dates: 12–17 November. 2013
Tickets: $28
Bookings: www.thebutterflyclub.com.au

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