Cabaret Festival

Cabaret Festival Review: Musical Bang Bang

This raucous, biting evening of improv should be front of mind for artistic directors and producers for Australia’s many festivals and beyond

This raucous, biting evening of improv should be front of mind for artistic directors and producers for Australia’s many festivals and beyond
4.5

Presented by: Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Reviewed: 14 June, 2024

When you think of what the Adelaide Cabaret Festival stands for, the entirely improvised musical stylings of the collections of comedy legends AND up-and-comers that make up Musical Bang Bang would be front of mind. This raucous, biting evening of improv should be front of mind for artistic directors and producers for Australia’s many festivals and beyond, as the multigenerational audience lapped up the brilliance in the Banquet Room Friday night. 

Led by the unflappable, or maybe entirely flappable depending on whether it was funnier, duo of Jane Watt and Rob Johnson, Musical Bang Bang begins with an introductory improv game, designed to prime an audience that may be unfamiliar with the concept AND introduce the pack of performers taking the stage, before the team took suggestions for their fully improvised musical. A children’s talent pageant, full of bad parenting and baton twirling.

Long time cabaret icons Virginia Gay and Julia Zemiro piled a carefree trade as a 19 year old pretending to be a 6 year old experiencing a psychotic break and her helicopter mother carrying on an illicit spooning-based affair with the pageant director. Speaking of the director, TikTok and Triple J alum Tom Cardy’s stars turn as Michael the overbearing director, pushing his 5 year old daughter Michelle, Jane Watt, drove an extended monologue into song about the generational trauma inflicted on those involved in the family business (pageantry). Finally, Orya Golgowsky and Rob Johnson are a grandfather and little boy, bristling against the old man’s hatred of pageants and the little boy’s dream of baton twirling in his grandpa’s shed (it’s not as dirty as it sounds). This is the cast dreams are made of, always ready to Yes And or No But or pretend to be a cat even though neither of the other players in the scene want you too (Sorry Tom, I appreciated your dead cat).

An incredibly important special mention must go to star musical improviser Victoria Falconer who, on top of her already busy Cab Fest schedule, is shouldering the entire musical load of these brand new pieces with her fingers and her keyboard. Keeping up with this lot was a feat and she achieved it.

A tighter flow between the beats and games in the early part of the show may have brought the experience a greater sense of structure outside of the games, but when you find yourself critiquing the lack of structure in an improv show, you may be missing the forest for the (not there) trees.

One show left – see it!

Reviewed by Daniel Hamilton

Photo credit: Claudio Raschella 

Venue: Banquet Room
Season: 14 – 15 June, 2024
Duration: 1 hour (no interval)
Tickets: $45.00
Bookings: https://cabaret.adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au/whats-on/musical-bang-bang

More News

To Top