Cabaret Festival Review: Jali


Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 23rd June 2022

As a rising star on the stand-up comedy circuit, Oliver Twist is carving a name for himself as an hilarious comedian. This isn’t stand-up comedy though, this is Cabaret. Twist’s show is peppered with humorous moments, but this performance is more of a dramatic storytelling than a comedy show.

And in that, it’s bloody brilliant!

As one may expect from the story of a young Rwandan man fleeing the violence of his mother country, Twist’s story is at times brutal and heart-wrenching. What he has been through on his journey to adopting Australia as his new homeland is nothing short of shocking. Not just the physical violence, but the inner trauma he has also experienced.

Twist tells his story with a gentle delivery that almost hides his fiery passion. His stage presence is solid, and his use of the stark set is effective, if not a little busy. Switching between humorous anecdotes of the lighter moments of his young life, and terrifying memories of his harrowing past, his is an engaging performance you’ll be thinking about well after you’ve left the theatre.

Twist’s ability to paint a picture in your mind of a world most of us will luckily never experience, deserves acknowledgment and praise. It’s often said that comedians make great dramatic performers, and this performance would certainly back that theory.

In a country still battling its own racism issues, Jali should be mandatory viewing for High School students. If you can witness Jali and still hold an anti-refugee view, then you have no soul.  

Jali’s short season at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival has, unfortunately, finished. Oliver Twist’s performing career however, appears to be on an upwards trajectory that guarantee’s we’ll see him back in our fair town soon. Whether he’s expertly telling his life story, or opening for big name stand-up acts, or headlining his own show, my advice is to get along.

Reviewed by Doug Phillips
Twitter: @DouggyOz

Rating out of 5: 3.5

Season Ended

Photo Credit: Claudio Raschella

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