ginger and tonicLeft – Lisa Hanley, Jane Patterson, Laura Burzacott, and Emma Rule. Photo – Emily Doyle

The idea is very viable when one reads the numbers of the population who look for love online; they are massive. But here it receives a double whammy by being delivered as an acapella show and liberally dosed with humour. The ladies in question are Lisa Hanley, Jane Patterson, Laura Burzacott, and Emma Rule who link their numbers with tightly scripted dialogue and friendly audience participation

They’ve tried it all; playing hard to get, salsa classes, rsvp, Tinder. Nothing seems to work, so they’ve come up with a new concept Dating-via-Cabaret or “Dabaret”.

Three out of the four has an ideal partner in mind and with the exception of Emma, whose policy is “Never say no”, the lists of attributes required are demanding.

Jane decides the ideal prowling territory is dancing at a club, her only problem is that she has an inflexible body, with a particular problem, she can’t shake her tush. Eventually this is cured by push work from the other three as they sing backing vocals to her sad refrain.

Opening with an excellent version of Wishin’ and Hopin’ the ladies moved on to a rousing version of What a Man, What a Mighty Good Man. We were treated to the sad tale of rejection of Laura by Garry and her hilarious efforts to remain close to him under cover.

There was a fabulous parody of Blame it on the Boogie. One by one the girls listed what would put them off a potential partner with even Emma admitting the only thing that put her off a possible liaison would be a booger (snotty nose). Here the material moved onto a slightly more risqué style. The audience loved it! The songs were all accompanied by simple yet nifty choreography.

Audience participation is always perilous territory but this segment went extremely well, due to good planning, fun props and a laughing participant. Scott Patrick was seated centre and the ladies fired ten questions, each with a choice of replies from Emma, Jane, Lisa and Laura. As the questions were answered one lady turned over a card on a rope around her neck to indicate a personal win. The questions concerned dating behaviour, drinking, dancing favourite hair colour etc. It was a very funny, clever part of the show. Scott Patrick scored a prize bag from which the Ginger & Tonic cds were promptly removed. ”Who put those in there? They are for sale after the gig!”

I loved the One Direction parody You’re Growing on Me Baby describing the ability to ignore the endless limitations of the said man because he was at least “someone”. In the same vein was the version of Fever with new lyrics about beaver (a pubic hair slang term for those who had this to be explained).Yes really!

Not Gonna Hold Back strayed into further “blue” territory and was followed by a brilliant number about stalking, including heavy breathing phone calls and a house break in.

Finishing on a high, the ladies ventured into the audience one by one for solos, with vocal backing. Here’s My Number saw them distributing calling cards galore to an extremely receptive audience.

My only quibble was the microphones volume was slightly too loud and sometimes the three backing singers made the soloist’s lyrics inaudible.

There are excellent singers and marvellous harmonizers. A polished and highly enjoyable performance.

Australian Cabaret Enterprises presents
Desperate and Dateless with Ginger & Tonic

Venue: De Parel Spiegeltent | Perth Cultural Centre, Northbridge WA
Dates: until 21 February 2016
Tickets: from $15

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