Cabaret Festival Review: Last Dance, The Forgotten Masters

Aaron Cash hits the stage and sings the first few bars of a famous song then, in the manner of all good cabaret performance, this show takes a turn, or two.

By
Overall
5

Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 14 June 2019

This cabaret is not for the faint hearted. Aaron Cash hits the stage and sings the first few bars of a famous song then, in the manner of all good cabaret performance, this show takes a turn, or two. Well, Aaron is a dancer from way back, and it moves at a pace that doesn’t give you a chance to catch your breath as we are invited to accompany Cash on a journey with some gifted characters from the past connected to the world of dance. This is an evening fired by an active imagination, underpinned with some fine storytelling and acting and injected with the sort of humour your mother told you that you shouldn’t laugh at in public. (Thank goodness there were a few people in the audience, including myself, who learned your mother was only looking at an appropriate time to have a good chuckle herself).

Cash explodes into the action of this entertaining, bawdy and confronting look at three men who are captive to the world of dance. We are first introduced to a German choreographer alive and captive in a world that is changed by the rise of the Nazi party. We are privy to his inventiveness, his creativity, his sexual depravity and eventually his love for a Jewish boy imprisoned by a regime that showed no mercy as it strove to create the perfect race. The story is not easy to listen to as we strive to remember who this character could be; I was sure I’d heard the name before. Its confronting and radical conclusion remind us all life is unpredictable, don’t let it pass you by unchallenged.

The second character takes us to Spain, Cash slips effortlessly into a new pair of pants and a new character. His Spanish, and his Spanish accent, excellent. His new persona larger than life, his Flamenco dancing a masterclass in how your body must be engaged to make your character live and breathe. Another journey through love, disaster and rebirth. An invitation to an audience member to give focus to the work, an audience enthralled and captivated by another clear and meaningful journey. Then to cap it off, he stripped! Well, he didn’t take it all off but enough to make sure no-one in the audience took their eye off the ball, so to speak.

Then the third part of our journey through the ages and we find ourselves in the hands of a New York dancer/choreographer working to keep body and soul together in one of the thriving NYC famous drag clubs of the 70’s. The story has it all, sex drugs, Rock and roll, Andy Warhol, Martha Graham and of course the plague of the late 70’s that devastated the gay populations of all our major cities. This character is sassy, in your face, loveable and real. But, yes there is a but! He is surrounded in this world by a multitude of other characters who for the purposes of the show appear on a very creative version of a TV documentary. Cash changes character and accents with lightning speed, leaving us dizzy as we try to stay caught up to the story. It’s a wild whacky ride and there are one or two moments when Cash takes advantage of a soft prop (sorry gentlemen) or two by choosing a gentleman in the audience to play with (oh I’m just digging myself a bigger hole here)! But suffice it to say that there are some very confused straight gentlemen wandering aimlessly around Adelaide searching for the charismatic man who offered to fulfil their dreams.

Aaron Cash is still an extraordinary performer whose charisma fills the theatre, not just the stage. If you didn’t ever get to see him in some of the wonderful work he has appeared in over his extensive career then here’s your chance to cop a look, and a feel if you’re lucky – it’s all in the spirit of the show.

If you have ever experienced the world of dance, this show will make you guffaw with laughter at times (His dance teacher is a gem). It will also remind you that artists seek acceptance, and the perfect environment for the different, is the arts. The big wide world can be cruel and squash your dreams if you let it.

I must mention the three musicians who support the journey of this show with such sensitivity. Led by Musical Director Lee McIver there is a combo of piano, trumpet and percussion that enriched the playing field for this piece of work. Written, produced and choreographed by Aaron Cash with additional choreography by Roberto Amaral this is a tour-de-force of a performance from Aaron Cash.

I have to say I have seen and reviewed a really amazing variety of cabaret over the last two weeks and there’s still almost half of it to go. Julia Zemiro has put together a Cabaret Festival that has something for everyone. What a blast.

Reviewed by Adrian Barnes

Rating out of 5: 5

Venue: Space Theatre
Season: Friday 14th July 7.00pm, Sat 15th July 6.30pm
Duration: 1hour 10 mins

Tickets: Premium Adult $51.90. A Reserve Adult $46.90, Conc $41.90 A one off service and handling fee of $8.95 applies per transaction
Bookings:  https://www.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au/events/last-dance-the-forgotten-masters/

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