Satire is a perfect form of humour for Australians – we love to laugh at the world and, more importantly, at ourselves.
‘The Crown Prince of Melbourne cabaret’, Michael Dalley, is a master of satirical song-writing who can thumb his nose at the best of them: apparently even himself, evident by his opening number, Private School Boys Doing Satire.
Dalley’s humour is bitingly accurate and, as the Americans say, ‘funny because it’s true’. He holds a mirror up to society and smashes it into its face. Nothing is sacred: waiters (Would You Like Cracked Pepper with That?), coastal towns (Sh*t Art From the Mornington Penninsula), and even cabaret itself (the very funny I Have Something to Say) all get a healthy serve of Dalley’s intellectual vitriol.
Then there are the various individual character-types: Danii The Debutante; the Erotic Cabaret Artiste; Nina, Reactionary Ballerina; and this reviewer’s personal favourite, the Passive/Aggressive, Philippino Amway Lady.
What works well for Dalley, apart from his very witty songs, is his winning personality. He is charming and sardonic, never ‘catty’ or sarcastic in his delivery.
A huge part of making songs such as his work is the parodying of musical styles. Dalley has put this job into the hands of one of Australia’s maestros of the keyboards, John Thorn – who doesn’t disappoint!
A highly recommended, entertainingly funny show.
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Venue: Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide
Season: season ended
Duration: 1 hour 10 mins
The Adelaide Cabaret Festival runs from 6 – 21 June 2014.