Melbourne Fringe Review: Le Grande Cabaret

Tucked away in an inner city suburb, Hares and Hyenas is a both a bookshop and a performance space. The venue is playing host to a handful of fringe festival shows this season, including the one I was lucky to attend: Le Grande Cabaret. I will admit that I have previously seen an incarnation of Le Grande Cabaret, however this one was a markedly different show – with a particular theme and different assortment of performers.

Patrick Collins was the suitably charming MC for the evening and announced that the theme of the show was “Heaven and Hell” – with the first part of the show dedicated to performers with heavenly personas and routines, and the second part of the show would descend into the more devilish routines! Patrick addressed his audience as a ‘pantomime crowd’ prompting lots of of ‘oohs and aaahs’ and of course, making the audience laugh.

The lineup for the ‘heavenly’ portion of the evening commenced with none other than the delightfully sweet and divine Camilla Cream. Appearing in a beautifully fluffy and soft pastel pink outfit (with matching feather fans and headdress), it seemed that Camilla floated in on a cloud of fairy floss. Her routine set to a jazzy rendition of the modern song ‘Call Me Maybe”, Camilla was playful towards the audience with every step. Winking and being sultry one minute, then smiling coyly the next – every performance from Camilla is a sweet treat! I’m constantly impressed and mystified with how Camilla seemingly effortlessly moves and weaves her fans in time with the music. The way she uses them, they looks like they weigh nothing at all. One thing is for sure – Camilla’s performance was sensational!

Lord Lovat appeared next, with his ‘Twerking in the rain’ routine (admittedly, one of my personal favourites). If you’ve never seen Lord Lovat perform or seldom seen this routine then you are simply missing out on an amazing performance that is sassy, sexy and will leave you screaming for more! It’s a routine that never fails to leave the room steamy. Continuing on with the heavenly performers, I felt blessed as another ‘fan favourite’ – Liberty Foxx – appeared with a striking comedy based routine that was cleverly themed and which involved a complete transformation. I won’t spoil exactly what happened here, but let’s say the audience went bananas for Liberty.

Miss Holly Wouldn’t slipped through the crowd and onto the stage like a goddess from films past, performing a breathtaking and enchanting ‘classic tease’ routine and using a draping outfit with great effect. Continually glancing back to her audience, Miss Holly Wouldn’t ensured the audience constantly wanted more, and more we did! Ever so beautiful throughout her routine, I spied many longing glances from audience members after she had left the stage. Rounding out the heavenly section of the show was performer Michael Wheatley, who brought a gangster style vibe and very athletic body to the stage. I enjoyed his performance as he told the story of a man trying to impress a very beautiful woman (Camilla Cream) without using a word. The audience couldn’t but be charmed by Michael – he is such an endearing character.

In no time, Patrick Collins returned to introduce us to the hellish characters within the second part of the show, and in the process seemingly became overcome by the prince of darkness himself and performed some card magic!! Hellish to some, but I reveled in the magic routine (steered behind the scenes by the prince of darkness) and was entertained by every moment! It certainly displayed a stark contrast to the first section of the show. While the audience were on their journey to the hellish depths of the underworld, we discovered that many of the performers were the same people as we’d seen earlier in the show – however they’d taken on darker personas….Lord Lovat had now become a zombie, convulsing the wards of some faraway hospital while Liberty Foxx used a very slow, almost heavy metal reworking of the song ‘Bad Moon Rising’ to depict an almost occult little red riding hood. With her slow, calculating and almost tortured movements, Liberty Foxx’s performance gave me chills down my spine. Headlining the evening, Michael Wheatley returned – seemingly possessed by the soul of a singer from the 1970’s. Impressed by his vocal ability, the audience was treated when Michael came down into the audience and showed off his suave dance moves up close to some lucky audience members. All velvet and smooth moves, Michael’s routine was sultry at times as he gyrated his hips and surveyed his newest fans – the room was in awe and excited at the same time. It was the perfect crescendo to a fun evening out.

Aside from the amazing performers who clearly took the show theming to heart, what I enjoyed about this show is that it was fast paced with thrills and exciting moments around every corner. With a lineup that changes each night, you’ll never know who you’ll encounter in heaven (or hell).

VERDICT: Don’t be afraid to venture to the edges of heaven and hell with ‘Le Grande Cabaret’. Let the performers take you to realms of angelic and demonic delights for an entertaining night of burlesque and surprises.

Tickets and more information:

*Disclaimer: I attended this even as a guest of Le Grande Cabaret

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