With the world the way it is right now, we can all use a little escapist joy. Finucane & Smith and their stable of high quality, truly unique burlesque and cabaret artists are just the ticket for these turbulent times.
Moira Finucane is a grand dame of the queer cabaret scene and at 58, she is as amazing as ever. Future.Joy.Club. reboots a couple of her classic orgiastic acts that never seem to lose their electricity no matter how many viewings. Finucane sexually charges everything – because sex is joy. And so is art. And so it goes….
In a new opening monologue Finucane mixes nudity and comfy pajamas, all while making a statement about the identity of an artist, her relationship with Zoom (not great for a “waist down woman” like herself) and the general state of the arts.
Finucane & Smith is as much about Moira Finucane as it is about all the other participating artists, both emerging and established, that they gather into their fold. This post-covid comeback show in the classy environs of the Sofitel ballroom is one of the strongest collections yet. The acts range from great to phenomenal, merging top-shelf artistry with charged acts of self-expression. They generally have an unexpected or clever hook, making them fun and sometimes tawdry, but always with intention and impeccable production values.
Future.Joy.Club. rolls from one act to the next with Finucane leading the way as compare/lead diva and general provocateur. A flower-decorated catwalk, the use of smaller side stages, high-quality lighting and carefully placed glitter confetti all add to the cabaret vibe.
Burlesque artist extraordinaire, Jazida, has seemingly endless skills – from fire twirling and fan manipulation to physical dexterity and theatrical chops in tightly-honed acts that are all vastly different from one another.
Equally Govind Pillai, dubbed the Indian Love God by Finucane, melds an Indian dance background with sexual innuendo in punchy acts that flirt with the audience, all the while maintaining a physically difficult and precise technique. The dancing is electric and visceral, each reach of the hand, sculpt of fingers and turn of head radiates well past the body and envelopes the entire room.
Consistently, Future.Joy.Club. tumbles around high art references with familiar music, sassy striptease and general mayhem.
It’s a celebration of all ends of the spectrum, from Mama Alto’s extraordinary rendition of I Will Survive to Sophie Koh’s original songs and Lachlan Bartlett’s gender-bending, French character, Ava Rosebud who has their own surprises in store. Rachel Lewindon accompanies most acts on the grand piano and contributes an original song to the full cast finale.
Probably most touching is the immersive vocals of Finucane’s childhood friend and jazz legend Lois Olney who sang both covers and original songs, accompanied by Dave Johnson. Like Moira, she’s a grand dame of her genre, and her presence took the show next level.
Finucane & Smith travel Australia, picking up talent along the way, recognizing and appreciating artistry at all ends of the generational spectrum. They bring up new artists and help shape them into powerhouses by giving them a performance platform. Equally important, they recognize and honour their elders and peers, always giving them pride of place in their productions.
A somewhat tame opening night crowd was difficult to rouse to their feet despite catchy, dance-worthy music. Nevertheless, Future.Joy.Club. did indeed feel totally joyous and infectious.
Let this be the future! No more Zoom performances – only the joy and glow of live acts.
Finucane & Smith presents
FUTURE. JOY. CLUB.
Directors Moira Finucane & Jackie Smith
Venue: Sofitel Melbourne | Collins Street Melbourne VIC
Dates: 7 July – 7 August 2022