Cabaret Festival Review: Mother’s Ruin

Maeve Marsden and Libby Wood have teamed up to create a cabaret about gin – otherwise known as ‘Mother’s Ruin’.

Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 10 June 2016

Maeve Marsden and Libby Wood have teamed up to create a cabaret about gin. As a long-time gin lover myself, how could I resist?

For the younger among you, who may not know, “mother’s ruin” is an old term for gin. And this choice of title gives us a key to the perspective Marsden and Wood take on this most delicious of subjects. Gin was traditionally seen as a woman’s drink, and as the downfall of many a good mother.

Taking us on a journey through the surprisingly gendered history of the juniper tipple, the girls, accompanied by musical director Jeremy Brennan, perform a variety of songs, some of which have re-written lyrics to suit the topic. For instance the old Australian favourite I’ve Been Everywhere is turned into I’ve Drunk Every Gin, so the girls can rattle off a list of hipster gin brands. Some sing-along favourites were included in the show, such as Billy Joel’s Piano Man (you know…making love to his tonic and gin) and Lionel Bart’s Oompahpah.

There’s plenty of gin history and ephemera, and some lovely cabaret singing in this show. It just seemed a bit short, and a bit light on actual songs. There are umpteen lyrics that mention Tanqueray, let alone any other gin references, so I don’t think there is a lack of material. Also, the banter was just too scripted. I’m sure as the show gets more of an airing, this will loosen up and Marsden and Wood will become a bit more natural, with each other and with the audience.

Overall, this is a slick, fun, well put together, bit of cabaret and a great project to support.

Oh and could someone please inform the Centre staff, that cabaret is not opera, and they don’t need to tell patrons to ‘wait till the singing stops before you go back to your seat’? Sigh.

Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Twitter: @TraceyKorsten

Rating (out of 5): 3.5

Venue: Artspace
Season: 10th June-12th June 2016
Duration: 1 hour
Tickets: $
Bookings: Book online through the Adelaide Cabaret Festival website or phone BASS on 131 246


To Top