Thursday, 17 January 2008

Vaudeville X, Jan 17, 2008

Vaudeville X 
by Michael Dalley, High Performance Company
Black Box, Arts Centre, Jan 17until Feb 2, 2008
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Fluff  up your feather boa, don your fishnet stockings and a sultry pout and prepare to have a cracking good time at Vaudeville X.  The sixteen original songs are by Michael Dalley who is a wizard with wicked satirical lyrics.

Three haughty bourgeois characters (Dalley, Daniel Fletcher, Grant Cartwright) wearing dinner suits - and an occasional pink boa - perform the collection of songs incorporating intelligent and well-observed lyrics, barbed social commentary and acerbic wit.

From their middle-class ivory tower, these characters pine for the glorious Keating-inspired years and mourn the death of elitism. Each tune is another biting comment on the comfortable middle-class urban set that despairs of the upward mobility of unsophisticated suburbanites in Things Aren’t Going Well When Girls Called Narelle Drink CafĂ© Latte – and boys called Troy and Kyle.

Every aspiration of the middle classes is a target. In Backpacking, smug young travellers blithely ignore poverty while trekking through the Third World. Middle Class Welfare celebrates tax avoidance, share portfolios and negative gearing and the choral Spirit Song praises supporting “art approved by bureaucrats”.

The modern phenomenon of educated, corporate, artsy women hooking up with rough trade is analysed in Upmarket Woman, Downmarket Man. Men who marry and hide their homosexuality are exposed in Double Life and those appalling pseudo-feminist seducers and charlatans of the New Age are damned in He’s A Masseur. I Love Reading Freud With My Mother is about – well ­­– a troubling relationship between mother and son.

If you’ve ever stumbled unwittingly upon the drivel on morning FM radio, Morons on Breakfast Radio will tickle you. If you love Kurt Weill The Sewers of Berlin is a scream. If you loath indulgent post-modernism you’ll love The Ghost of The Post-Modern Dancer and Your Queer Performance Art and music theatre lovies gets a slapping in I’ve Got Something To Say.

The trio is slick, funny and playful and is accompanied on piano by the unobtrusive but sterling pianist, John Thorn. Vaudeville X is a deliciously naughty and provocative cabaret.

By Kate Herbert

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