Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Yee Howdy

Saddle up and join the sassy and delightful Clara Cupcakes for a bit of cowgirl fun in the wild-west

Saddle up and join the sassy and delightful Clara Cupcakes for a bit of cowgirl fun in the wild-west
3.5

Presented by: Fort Awesome

Reviewed: 17 February, 2024

Say a big warm and welcoming howdy to Clara Cupcakes, otherwise known as “The Cowgirl”, in this light-hearted, wacky and easily-enjoyable one-woman comedy show which is both a great date-night pick, or group Fringe experience.

In this campy cabaret comedy Western you’ll find plenty of self-deprecating humour, entertaining audience participation, an array of silly over-the-top characters, and Clara’s impressive high-energy stage-presence as she rounds up her audience and lassos them into her wacky journey of self-discovery in the Wild West.

Described (very accurately) as a “vaudevillian comedic cowgirl adventure”, Clara’s unwavering confidence and proudly self-deprecating humour equates to a thigh-slappin’, hootenanny of a good time. This is especially due to her unique ability to make any audience interaction a laugh-out-loud affair, combined with the bravery to spread this unpredictable comedic aspect throughout the show.

Clara’s outfit choice may lead you to think that you’ve stumbled into a Taylor Swift ticket line, but she definitely wears hers with more gusto and sass. After kindly offering her audience imaginary toasted marshmallows on entry, the lights go down, followed by the show’s star commandingly strutting onto the stage in cow-print cowboy boots, a bright pink cowboy hat, Dolly Parton-esque blonde-white voluminous curls, a cupcake-adorned bolo tie, and her signature outrageous makeup which includes blushing cheeks, adorable freckles and huge painted eyes – no, it isn’t American Drag Queen Trixie Mattel, but Australia’s very-own Clara Cupcakes as “The Cowgirl”!

Our protagonist’s ridiculously humorous soul-searching journey in Yee Howdy is triggered one night around a (digitally-created and projected on the back-screen) fire, as the voice of an ethereal being boomingly commands Clara to begin her important journey. This leads her on a wild hunt to find the mysterious Cotton-Eyed Joe – a cunning and mysterious man of legend who appears to be on a mission to spread ‘cowpitalism’ throughout the land. Along the way, The Cowgirl meets unique characters who themselves have had memorable run-ins with Joe, like a slithery snake-infatuated preacher and a saucy hoochie-coochie girl with mesmerising breast-puppetry.

Throughout the night, Clara shows off some of her other talents, which includes joyfully playing the ukulele while passionately singing a slower version of the traditional American country folk song Cotton Eye Joe with the rousing vocal assistance of the audience. As mentioned previously, Clara’s comedic character and quick wit truly shines when interacting with her audience, and it would be great to see even more audience interaction in future shows, perhaps replacing some of the longer voice-over monologues.

A mention must also be made of the original song Yee Howdy that opens the show, with it’s amusingly comic lyrics and fun melody (all sung in amusingly serious way by Clara) that had the audience bopping in their seats, and arousing their excitement for what was to come.

Yee Howdy’s protagonist ‘The Cowgirl’ character is born from Clara’s years-long obsession with the historically talented cowgirl Elenor Powell, with Clara herself admitting that it was inevitable for a western show to become part of her performance repertoire, and maybe in future shows the audience will even get Clara’s own interpretation of Powell’s famous rope dance.

Clara puts on a show that will have you yelling “yee-haw” in-between plenty of laughter and cheers on this wacky adventure.

Reviewed by Georgina Smerd

Photo credit: supplied

Venue: The Gallery at The Courtyard of Curiosities at the Migration Museum, Adelaide
Season: 16 – 25 February, 2024
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $21 – $23
Bookings: https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/yee-howdy-af2024

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