Cabaret Festival Review: Lea DeLaria – Orange Is The New Black’s Big Boo

Dirty, fascinating, funny, soulful and political ball of pure talent from start to finish


Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 11 June 2018

I am the first to admit that I walked in to the Festival Theatre as a virgin to this side of Lea DeLaria. When I saw her name on the Cabaret Festival line up, I fan girled over the thought of seeing an actress I love; watching and listening to her interpretation of a musician I have adored for most of my life.

As the house lights dimmed and the cool coloured lighting lit up the stage, we were transported to a jazz club, feeling the anticipation and electric energy. As the all-female Jazz Trio walked on to the stage the audience were instantly engaged and as Lea walked toward the mic the audience’s energy erupted into applause. This set the tone for what can only be described as a dirty, fascinating, funny, soulful and political ball of pure talent from start to finish.

For many of us David Bowie showed us it was okay to push the boundaries – honestly who wants to be “normal” when you can be as fabulously out there as Bowie not giving a single F*** about what people thought of your wardrobe. Besides super heroes Bowie is the only person I know to make having an alter ego such an incredibly cool thing. He was a super hero in his own right to all the children, young adults and adults who just didn’t want to fit in that little squishy box that is ‘normal’. I don’t expect to see Lea don lightning bolt face paint or an extremely flamboyant costume anytime soon, however, I can think of no better person to carry on our Star Man’s legacy of advocating the message of being yourself and being incredibly proud of it. If this show was anything to go by, House of David: delaria+bowie=jazz is an album everyone should own, and for those who have never listened to jazz before it is even more of a reason to buy it as this is an education in music.

For comedy lovers this show has all the wit, sass and profanity fans of Delaria love; including the Trump hate and women empowerment references that rally an audience and have Lea yelling F*** yes B****s.  The only thing I was disappointed about is that I didn’t know of Delaria’s musical talent sooner and that I somehow missed out on an incredible music genre all these years.

As Lea DeLaria leaves Australia to continue her tour back in the states we bid her a fond farewell and belated Happy 60th Birthday wishes for May 23rd. Hopefully she returns to the Cabaret Festival in 2019 so that you can all experience her incredible voice and the talent of her Jazz Trio. Until then go buy the album: you won’t be disappointed.

Reviewed by Tara Forbes-Godfrey

Rating: 5/5

One Night Only – season ended


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