Tuxedo Cat’s Perske Pavilion, Sun Mar 8.
Oh god, what IS this? I know these crumbly Tuxedo Cat venues are meant to be full of character, but this Perske Pavilion is dank, dark and smelled overpoweringly of feet, to a distracting degree. I don’t know if it was the venue or the man in front of me but between the asphyxiating whiff and the anxiety-generating audience participation, not a massively comfortable night.
This is disingenuously listed in musical theatre. It bloody isn’t. Impressive clowning, yes, proudly genre defying (it’s in the blurb about the company, must be true), good old fashioned variety, possibly. Like a fool, I was genuinely hoping for a history of calypso and soca, and there is a wee bit, but Juan Vesuvius the distinguished maraca practitioner is a man of few words.
There is much pissing about with decks and old album covers, which are ‘amusingly’ used to create live vignettes. It’s all splendidly inventive nonsense, or maybe re-inventive – you may recall Morecambe and Wise in big frilly shirts doing a maraca routine and lost it completely. This is much cooler, more quietly spoken clowning, toying with the idea of a musical lecture and a plan for world peace through sensual movement.
To be fair to Barnie Duncan, the originator of Señor Vesuvius, he is light on his feet, has the confidence of a street performer that he will bend an audience to his will and the integrity of the character is unshakeable. For me, each routine was just pushed too long and outstayed its welcome. I realise that’s a thing now, testing the audience patience, but this may have been a dynamite 20 to 25 minute slot rather than a one-hour show. Perhaps it was just tonight it didn’t fully ignite, but cracking performance nonetheless.
Calypso Nights continues at Tuxedo Cat’s Perske Pavilion until Sun Mar 15.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Image courtesy of Vicki Leopold