Presented by Cabaret Fringe Festival
Reviewed Fri 4th June 2010
Venue: The Promethean, 116 Grote Street, Adelaide
Season: already closed, one night only
Duration: Advertised as 60 mins but ran 90 mins
Bookings for all Cabaret Fringe shows: BASS 131 241 or http://www.bass.net.au
Melbourne based group, the Dry Martinis, describe this work as Vaudeville Noir Mystery Thriller, but it does not fit any of those descriptors. Their show begins in blackout, with a voice-over introducing Hurricane Harry, who has possession of a diamond that is being sought by Shanghai Lil. David Backler is Harry and Dianne Heywood-Smith is Lil but the narrative of the voice-over has little to do with the performance, a series of dance segments, a few elementary magic tricks, some fire twirling and a little comedy, interspersed with more blackouts and voice-overs that attempt to maintain the storyline.
The pair, who also teach the Tango, operate from their own business, The Tiki Bar and Lounge in Melbourne, where they perform their shows. Not surprisingly, the Tango featured heavily in their dance routines. These two are the central performers, but they are assisted by a trio of showgirls, ‘The Doomettes’, Sarah Roberts, Kate Lister and Tori Heywood-Smith.
The danger with any self-devised work is that everything that the participants think of including goes in, and stays in, in its entirety. It would appear that this has happened here as the work is rather too long to sustain the content. It becomes repetitive, some sequences could be trimmed, and the work often lacks pace. It needs the firm hand of an independent director and the assistance of an experienced and imaginative choreographer.
The showgirls provided lots of energy and enthusiasm, with strong vocals from Kate Lister and some more fine vocal work from Sarah Roberts. The costuming was very good, but performers walking out of their light, bumping into the set and being slow on cuing slowed the pace further. A highlight was the trio’s tribute to Josephine Baker, complete with skirts of bananas.
There were some good moments, but there is a need for editing and tightening up the performance, removing the numerous long pauses. At ninety minutes, with an interval, it is just too long and, if it is to have a theme, then there needs to be a coherent plot adhered to throughout the performance, with the various segments relating directly to the narrative. At the moment it is just a dance variety show, a sequence of unrelated segments, relying on the three younger members to inject the needed pizzazz.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor Glam Adelaide.