Hot is the latest cabaret offering from Adelaide Fringe 2011 Best Cabaret Award winner. Sophie Walsh-Harrington, or Damsel Sophie, as she prefers to be called now.
Entering in a black and gold cocktail dress and mourning veil, Damsel Sophie works through the audience and onto the stage to caress her 2011 trophy. Her first song, Sia’s The Church of What’s happening Now, backed by a recorded track, gives an inkling of what the show is about. This show covers Damsel Sophie’s life post her success with Damsel in Shining Armour last year, her now.
Whilst Damsel Sophie proclaims that “This is not a cabaret”, it is more of a Cabaret about whether to write another cabaret or explore other avenues of artistic expression. She details the highs and lows of her life since leaving Adelaide last year, from the parties and the media attention in her home town of Harrogate, to the reality of having to move back in with her parents and find a steady job during a recession. Some fun references are made to other English cabaret performers but, since it has been a few years since Frisky and Mannish were in Adelaide, the reference bypassed all but the die-hard cabaret fans.
She works through some concepts for cabarets, but each seem to fall short of her expectation that she has to live up to her 2011 success, poking fun at some of the standard cabaret story lines before a segue into an alternative form of artistic expression, with wonderful comic timing, interpretive dance and a fetching lilac lycra cat suit.
Damsel Sophie calls on various audience members throughout the show to assist with moving microphone stands, or portraying other characters, with mixed success. Some chose not to play along, while others were willing participants on the journey. It was amusing to watch as she called almost half the audience on stage to provide backing for a number, before singing from the centre of the audience.
This show is more spoken word cabaret with a few musical numbers added in, but Damsel Sophie connects to the audience. Damsel Sophie’s North Yorkshire accent is not that pronounced, so you can understand her and she is able to present most of the show unamplified, allowing her to move around the room, rummage through bags, and dance, without slowing the pace of the show.
This is a fun filled journey where you don’t know what you are going to find at any turn. Come along, and be prepared for anything but, most of all, be prepared to enjoy yourself.
Reviewed by Jade Kops, special guest Fringe Critic, Glam Adelaide
Venue: La Boheme, 36 Grote Street, Adelaide
Season: 9pm Sun 11 Mar, 8pm Wed 14 – Fri 16 Mar, 7pm Sat 17 Mar 2012
Tickets: Adults $25, Concession $18, Fringe Benefits $10, Group $10
Bookings: Fringetix 1300-FRINGE (1300-374643), their outlets, or online