Cut-Throat Cabaret | Deadly ProductionsA celebration of the weird and wonderful denizens of FringeWorld.

Opening with vivid vocals of Miss Holly Hooray, impeccably styled and fluent in performance, who takes us on a tour of hits of the Big Band era. The acoustics of the tent work against this performance, but Miss Hooray delivers despite erratic sound levels of microphone and backing music. Seeing this chanteuse with actual live musicians would be amazing, but her short solo set delivers a taste of her talents both in vocal quality and compelling delivery.

The debonair illusionist Simon Coronel presents two fascinating feats, with a double twist in the delivery. Without uttering a single word of introduction or patter, a sleight of hand and a mind-reading trick are performed – by randomly selected members of the audience! The usual intrigue of “how?” is amplified by the bewilderment of not only the seated crowd but also by the wonder of the participants who find themselves possessed of unsuspected, uncanny abilities.

Ginger Rabbit steps up with an original burlesque turn that appeals with its combination of intelligent wit, rhythmic pulse and hilariously crude costumes. It doesn’t hurt that the novel introductory recorded dialogue, complete with an assistant dressed as a giant penis delivering his sperm puppet to the demurely waiting “egg” of Ginger Rabbit, is followed by an assured dance routine. An amusing song choice works well with her delicate movements, hitting every point with changes in costume and deft manoeuvres with the puppet.

Love or hate the genre, it is impossible to ignore the self-mutilating stunts of the Reverend Butcher. He delights in finding new ways to disgust, repel and fascinate by using existing piercings, a staple gun, skewers and a cordless drill to demonstrate his disregard for usual boundaries of physical pain. Many look away, unable to watch, but nearly all are compelled to look again to see whether he will really… yes, he really is going to do that.

The acts are interspersed by MC Deadly Serious, with a line of patter, jokes and circus skills that should warm up the crowd for each of the guests. Unfortunately, the audience is not receptive to his offerings, and things fall flat between acts. To his credit, Deadly Serious does not back away from the challenge of an unresponsive crowd and keeps trying new material and new approaches to see what will stick, eventually raising some laughs with Perth-friendly material about Armadale and local traffic habits. His slack rope routine, involving a dozen burly young men from the audience and several sharp looking knives, has the audience finally in tune with his performance and closes the night strongly.

It will be interesting to see if the post-Fringe aspirations of this presentation are recognised, as a regular Cut-Throat Cabaret night would definitely add some variety to Perth’s regular performance offerings. In the meantime, it has provided a valuable platform for audiences to sample some of the spirit and skill of FringeWorld.

Deadly Entertainment presents
Cut-Throat Cabaret

Venue: Black Flamingo, The Pleasure Gardens, Northbridge
Dates: 10 – 14 Feb 2015

Part of FringeWorld 2015

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