Contemporary Cabaret Envy: A Cultural Review

Private Eye DetectiveOver the last few weeks I have managed to see a number of excellent pieces of performance with the two highlights being Re-Creating Pengwyn choreographed by Joanna Young and last night Private Detective devised and performed by the Kitsch ‘n’ Sync collective. Just a couple of elements of Chapter’s pretty excellent theatre/dance programme – and how could I not buy tickets for a company called Trifle Gathering Productions with a show entitled ‘A Curious Evening of Trance and Rap with the Ogden Sisters’!

It is somehow reassuring to see a younger generation of performers, specifically choreographers, emerging with something just a little bit different. Work that both challenges creatively and makes you laugh – sometimes I ponder on whether the creators of the performance I’m watching actually considered the audience. As an audience member I for one would like to be entertained as well as engaged – make me think by all means but don’t forget that a good giggle does wonders for a gal too! This season sees the continuing presence of more established performers with the exciting prospect of Caroline Sabin’s Curious Zoo (see below – and tell me if Ms Sabin isn’t a dead ringer for Helena Bonham-Carter’s Miss Haversham in the current film version of this Dickens epic), the recent triumphant Medicine Show from Mr and Mrs Clark plus the tantalising prospect of the return of Lea Anderson’s Ladies and Gentlemen (wish them luck with this development)!

pengwyn42Re-Creating Pengwyn: the review on the Wales Arts Review site sums the show up pretty succinctly ( except I didn’t quite have the emotional response the reviewer had! Memorable for me were consistently excellent performances from four dancers; three of whom I hadn’t seen before including two guys who I understand have (rightly) been snapped up by national companies. Joanna Young is an emerging choreographer with a fresh approach; she has something to say creatively that is new with a clean sophisticated movement vocabulary – OK yes I’ve been dying to use this phrase but in this case it seems just perfect!

And who wouldn’t look twice at the accompanying photographic imagery – a memorable piccy sticks in the mind neatly drawing one back to the performance. Ms Young is someone whose work I will look out for!

Show 2Private Eye Detective presented and performed by Kitsch ‘n’ Sync a new dynamic collective on the dance theatre scene – this quirky indeed wacky cabaret style show demonstrates the varied accomplishments of these three ladies. Performance envy – not jealously as that would be nasty and simply not sophisticated – but I am a sucker for anyone who can dance en pointe and that’s before you throw in roller skating and tap dancing (with menace) too!

Seated on tables the audience is literally embedded in the centre of the performance space with the action swirling around you at speed (on occasions)! The comic irony gives a sharp edge to the plot as the characters take the role of amateur detectives asking the audience to look around the room and write down who the culprit might be. This provides a perfect opportunity to ‘humiliate’ ones friends; the night I went the focus seemed to be the crimes committed through couture or rather the lack of it! A Christmas jumper and pyjama print shirt both identified as meriting particular attention – the festive jumper had been removed and was extracted from under the table to the embarrassment of the bearded owner! Oh yes facial hair came off pretty poorly too – what is the wearer trying to hide…the bespectacled typists (or were they hair stylists on roller skates) rummaged through the audience suggestions with great hilarity!

A great night out all round – do browse the ladies Facebook presence for future dates for this and forthcoming performances:

Trifle GatheringNext up, as aforementioned, is Trifle Gathering on Thursday an intriguing show photograph that reminds me of an old fashioned séance; should I perhaps consider who I might want to make contact with (should I be asked; its best to be prepared)? Why does the image of my darling granny come to mind – perhaps because family members have been reminding each other that she said she’d come and haunt us if  we had harsh words that led to us no longer being on speaking terms; it happens to the best of us every now and then. I PROMISE it won’t be me granny! Honestly I’ve honed my peace maker skills since you knew me; I even get paid to be a facilitator on occasions – one man even said I should put my name forward when Kofi Annan stepped down as then head of the UN! No need to worry Ban Ki (Moon) you’re doing an admirable job given the variety of your current portfolio – I wouldn’t step into your shoes if you bumped me pocket money up to unimaginable tax avoiding levels (sorry that would be the IMF (for which I’m still in mourning – Christine darling I feel so terribly let down; how could you? When you are SO utterly perfect in every way…)

curious zoocurious zoo detailAnd do consult the Chapter brochure so you don’t miss Caroline Sabin’s Curious Zoo; a Christmas Show for Adults – there are angels but they are covered in blood…oh and Jon Gower makes his performance debut with something involving (stuffed) birds (in glass cases) as well as interventions from Deborah Light, Gerald Tyler and a musician called James…apologies if I’ve missed anyone out. Such is my curiosity I shall be seeing this one three times; two by design and the third well planned after a fashion!

And now Cruella is completely overexcited; the tingling in my hands has reached vicious biting levels so please forgive me if by the time you get this far you have almost lost the will to live as a result of the random presentation…I was a WordPress flag waver until now…why change a format that works by introducing a new media function that makes no sense to an occasional user…don’t make me leave the platform (please)…but for now I’ll exit stage left and dive into the image library to adorn this post! I need not have been techno phobic twas no where near as nasty as I had fear!

Clara's A WinnerClara 2But I simply can’t leave without congratulating the niece of my beloved friend who at the tender age of 14 has won New Zealand’s Got Talent; Clara reminds me of a young Suzanne Vega – this girl writes and performs her own music whilst concentrating on her studies! During a recent visit my friend and I had a Skype chat with Clara’s father – poor guy was subjected to an image of me on a Sunday morning in nightwear before the daily reconstructive work had been done – and if that wasn’t ‘memorable’ enough I had the cheek to ask if she’s had any proposals of marriage! And that very evening (NZ time) one had come in via Twitter but it won’t be followed up just yet – here’s hoping the record deal comes through and Clara fulfils her creative and intellectual potential in equal measure; when the time’s right – darling girl there’s no rush…enjoy the moment (and share the spoils with yer little sister otherwise you will be punished for years and years)! Young women are simply an inspiration in their effortless nonchalant embracing of success – just remember to follow your wonderful sophisticated aunt’s penchant for deliciously outrageous footwear- you simply can’t go wrong with pink nubuck!


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