Thursday, 27 October 2011

Sin and Tonic, Dracula's, Oct 26, 2011 ***1/2

Sin and Tonic, Dracula’s
Dracula’s, 100 Victoria St. Carlton, no closing date
Reviewed by: Kate Herbert on Wed October 26, 2011
Published in Herald Sun on Nov 18, 2011and on line
Phillipa Harrison, Ash Flanders, Josh Celata (Guitar) Chris Buchanan, Gillan Perry

Dracula’s is celebrating its 30th birthday and, despite sexy movie vampires being in vogue, its new show, Sin and Tonic, is a flashback to vaudeville, burlesque and 1980s theatre restaurants.

We are greeted by blood stained, black-eyed, fanged, sexy waiters who look like escapees from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.

The decor is a mix of grim beauty and kitsch, with dimly lit skulls, monsters, severed body parts and other horror-movie paraphernalia.

After champagne and canapes in the Bela Lugosi Bar, we are herded into a full-scale, working Ghost Train for a scary ride to the theatre that is worth the price of admission.

The dinner service diversions are a cheesy assortment of songs, old-hat, bawdy comedy and repetitive images of audience screaming on the Ghost Train.

The main entertainment, Sin and Tonic, takes off after dinner with its throbbing cocktail of hard rock songs, grotesquery, comedy and burlesque, although the first half lacks some cohesion.

Written and directed by Marc Newman, it boasts a versatile cast (Ash Flanders, Gillan Perry, Chris Buchanan, Phillipa Harrison), slick music by Darren Hulcombe (drums and vocals), Josh Celata (guitar and vocals) and startling, digital projections (Paul Newman).

Perry’s stand-up is chock-full of raunchy sin-uendo but she makes it charming and hilarious. Perry and Harrison present some sassy, burlesque dance with plenty of tantalising skin on view.

Multi-skilled singers, Flanders and Buchanan, do a fine Michael Jackson medley, a cunning version of Get It On with doppelganger video–heads, an hilarious song with lightning fast character and accent changes.

The show hurtles to a rowdy, impressive finale with Whitesnake’s 1880s rock anthem, Here I Go Again, Rolling Stones’ Sympathy For The Devil and a Lady Gaga number.

If your taste in theatre runs to funny, flashy, noisy and kitschy, then sink your fangs into Sin and Tonic. It runs for a year.

 Stars: *** 1/2

Sin and Tonic runs for 12 months and opened early October 2011. It will then transfer to Dracula's on Gold Coast.

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