[CABARET/Comedy ~ ADELAIDE FRINGE PREMIERE ~ AUS]
Melba Spiegeltent at Gluttony, Wed 9 Mar.
It’s a cold Wednesday night in the middle of the Adelaide Fringe season, and the arrival of a show like Steven Oliver’s Bigger and Blacker is a reminder of how much we need to celebrate life, music, comedy and laughter in the world right now.
This show had its birth three years ago at Adelaide Cabaret Festival and this Fringe run is a streamlined, polished and revised version of a show that was already magnificent at birth. Steven Oliver is a gay, aboriginal, song and dance man, comedian, writer, activist, poet, entertainer and sexy bitch! Bigger & Blacker is a triumph of a show; this is classic cabaret filled with songs, stories, escape, fabulousness, outrageousness – all while packing an emotional punch.
The opening Faboriginal and it’s ‘What’s This Then Slut?’ intro, are a nod to Oliver’s breakthrough role in the SBS show Black Comedy, which propelled him, his characters (and catchphrases) into the mainstream consciousness. As a song it sets the framework for proceedings perfectly. He is aboriginal, but also fabulous, keep up! It’s quickly followed by Minority a song about being a minority within a minority. Part of what makes Oliver such an engaging performer and these songs so impactful, is that they are both complex and multi-dimensional. It’s not ‘just’ any one thing. The material runs from the lighter salacious cruising song about his favourite bar (The Manhole) the flirty Hey There Brother or the campery of Sing A Whitney Song, to songs about mental health (Are You Okay), youth suicide (Didn’t Know Your Song) the fast pace poetic rap delivery of Piece Of Mind.
Steven Oliver’s storytelling is wonderful, personal and frank, he’s quite the dancer and there are a lot of sexy moves busted, including a tap routine. Oliver is really funny, but he and the show are also complex. Cabaret performer and life-long friend Michael Griffiths accompanies Oliver on piano and backing vocals (and foil) providing wonderful harmonies and stylish accompaniment. The whole show is powerful and the song of the same name is a terrific sing-a-long (behind our masks) song of empowerment and strength. Griffiths leaves the stage (to man the merch. desk outside) while Oliver remains to deliver the incredible poem I’m A Black Fella. The audience erupts and he leaves the stage to a well-deserved standing ovation.
With all that is happening around the globe, Steven Oliver show us that the world can be a better place when it is bigger and blacker.
Steven Oliver – Bigger & Blacker continues at Melba Spiegeltent at Gluttony from 8pm until Sat Mar 20.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.