Cabaret Festival

Cabaret Festival Review: Reuben Kaye – enGORGEd

A slick, haunting, hilarious cabaret show by a star that has risen to great heights in ten-inch heels and exquisite fashun

A slick, haunting, hilarious cabaret show by a star that has risen to great heights in ten-inch heels and exquisite fashun

Reuben Kaye is no stranger to Adelaide or the Cabaret Festival. He has won awards in just about every part of Australia for previous cabaret shows. In recent times he has had a brush with his fifteen minutes of fame nationally (and particularly the Murdoch media) through more controversy and outrage than perhaps even he imagined.

It is therefore no surprise that Kaye’s latest offering, enGORGEd is a smash hit with crowds of adoring, diverse and inclusive audiences. Kaye is slick, professional and talented, with a razor sharp quick wit. The sass and bite of the banter draws many a gasp, but always punches up, taking on religious zealots, politicians and appropriately, the drag story-time protests. The show is sex positive, intimate (and at times heartbreaking), but also a rock-star concert.

Backed by a full orchestra and trio of backing singers, the show is musically directed by Shanon D Whitelock, who also acts as piano-conductor. The Festival Centre crew have done a brilliant job of complementing the class and spectacle of the artists with stunning lighting and staging.

Kaye himself is a superstar (and a potential Adelaide Cabaret Festival artistic director maybe?). He looks amazing in 10-inch heels, custom couture outfits and glam personal mic. But it is his vocal skills that takes a cackling audience to dead silence, hooked on a ballad that takes your breath away. A single spotlight, Reuben Kaye, and a mic… that’s all you really need to get your ticket’s worth. The musical arrangements (presumably by Kaye and/or Whitelock) are so clever and appropriate for the moody, almost gothic vocal stylings of Kaye and makes every number feel like an original.

It is impossible to overstate the joy this production provides as an inclusive and empowering celebration of a performer who is at the top of their game. He’s taking it overseas later this year and while we’re at it, why not give him a Netflix special too? I’d watch.

Reviewed by Hayley Horton

Photo credit: Claudio Raschella

Venue: The Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: Friday 16 June, 7.30pm and Saturday 17 June, 9.30pm
*Extra show added: Saturday 24 June at 7.30pm
Duration: 70 minutes
Tickets: From $54

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