Space Theatre, Wed 30 Dec
The creators of the knockout show La Soiree have ensured Adelaide has an intoxicating cabaret and circus hit to tie us over until the Adelaide Fringe and Adelaide Festival season takes off. There are no hot jam-packed tents as part of this experience though, just a funky bar in the middle of the room, which is cleared away by the acrobatic barmen to become the stage as the Mikey And The Nightcaps band begin to play.
The groovy captivating atmosphere is ready for the audience as they enter. The charming Swizzle Boys help you find your seats, make sure you are sufficiently liquored up from the multiple bars scattered around the venue and, along with host Murray Hill, work the room prior to organised chaos of the show beginning.
Hailing from New York, Drag King Murray Hill brings a nice level of audience banter and jokes about himself to energise the crowd. Murray’s gender, sexuality and weight form the majority of the comedy, with Murray’s attempt at performing acrobatic tricks in spanks (or giant condoms for chubby people as he explains) a particular audience pleaser. Later in the show, the ‘Murray Hill Challenge’ showcased Murray’s sharp wit with the crowd, which is helped by the contestants he selected to compete in the pole dancing challenge. Singing lesbian Al wins her way to victory by licking the pole, while leather-clad ‘bear’ Jason glowers his way to a close second. Who said dancing bears weren’t fun at the circus!?
There is a large variety of acts, including acrobatics, aerial performers, burlesque, tap-dancing and singing, but what really brings this show together are the Swizzle Boys; Joren Dawson, Tom Flanagan, DJ Garner and Ben Lewis. These boys have great energy, classic vaudeville comedy and outstanding acrobatics. They mix, shake and pour drinks from great heights and in incredible balancing positions. The Swizzle Boys perform their tricks so close to the audience, the front row risk sweat dripping onto them, although this only adds to the drinks previously sprayed towards them. They have great skill, strength and are incredibly easy on the eye.
Adding to the circus portion of the evening is Russian rhythmic gymnast and circus performer Valerie Murzak who ensures the audience is captivated with her every move. Her balancing performance on top a moving mirror ball is a fantastic concept and is executed beautifully.
Burlesque dancer Laurie Hager is hilarious in both her routines with the reverse strip and her deliberately messy drunk strip both titillating and unique performances. Both routines are great examples again of how Club Swizzle really stands out due to the innovate ideas being showcased.
Making his Australian debut in Adelaide, Dandy Wellington brings some class and elegance to the mix with his classic tap and song routine. Inspired by the Big Band sounds of the 1930s and 1940s, his performances were pleasant and added some more variety to the evening, but he was somewhat overshadowed by the other acts.
Ensuring there is sufficient stimulation for the ears Australia’s Ali McGregor is outstanding in her songs. She sings an outstanding arrangement of Creep by Radiohead, along with a remarkable mix of the Gorillaz’ Feel Good Inc and Nina Simone’s Feeling Good. Ali positions herself nicely among the other acts and looks beautiful in her varied costumes.
Having a live band is always a welcome addition, but Mikey And The Nightcaps are something else again. These talented musicians – Suzanne Simpson, Jim Dunlop, Svetlana Bunic and their multi-instrumentalist leader Mikey Lira – seemed to be able to confidently play the vast array of instruments in front of them. They are so involved in the constant crazy chaos and action of the performance.
Concept and Creative Producer Brett Haylock ensures Club Swizzle excites all the senses and is a fantastic night out. This feisty and decadent evening is free of unpleasant carnival acts like sword swallowers or someone contorting themselves into a box, but instead is fuelled by shamelessly fun and innovative performances. The audience is so excited by the end of the show that half of them join in a conga line with the performers; making it clear they don’t want the party to end. I can’t think of a better way for the Adelaide Festival Centre to kick off 2016 than with the massive party courtesy of Club Swizzle.
Club Swizzle performs at Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, at various times until Sun 17 Jan.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Images courtesy of Prudence Upton