Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director; produced playwright (21 plays). Scripts pub. Currency Press. She worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Coordinator of Prof. Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read her reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Wednesday, 20 December 2017
I’m Dreaming of a Christmas Cabaret, Dec 8, 2017 ***
Speakeasy HQ, 522 Flinders St, until Dec 24, 2017 (Other shows at 6pm, 7.30pm,
8.30pm & late) Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Dec 8, 2017
Review also published in Herald Sun Arts online & in print on Dec 13, 2017. KH
Matt Allegro_Photo by Kieran McNamara
Speakeasy HQ is a stylish, welcoming little vaudeville theatre tucked
away down the dodgy end of Flinders St.
among the nail salons, pubs and Thai massage shops.
The venue presents
multiple shows, but I’m Dreaming of a Christmas Cabaret is a short,
Chrissie-themed, cabaret hosted by the charming, talented Matt Allegro (Matt
Hadgraft), the show’s highlight who is unfazed by the night’s tiny audience.
Allegro introduces the
four acts with cheerful, self-deprecating banter and performs his revamped Christmas
songs with wittily rewritten lyrics.
He opens with a snappy,
jazz version of Jingle Bells that references ‘the local Liquorland’ then
introduces timid twins, Amy and Mel, who are clad in Santa-inspired red-and-white
outfits and sing three songs, including Jingle Bell Rock, accompanied by simple,
but awkward choreography.
Ukulele Will is gently
entertaining with his ukulele version of a naughtily suggestive Christmas song
written by Scared Weird Little Guys.
Allegro hauls out an
upright piano, which he plays skilfully, delivering his version of The Twelve
Days of Christmas: a scathing attack on awful Christmas gifts from the rellies
(‘four appalling shirts, two ugly mugs’).
Victoria Wolfe is cute,
sassy and curvaceous, although her routine that is billed as ‘contortion’ is,
rather, a series of charming but simple variations on the splits.
After Allegro’s goofy
routine about awful jokes inside Christmas Crackers, he introduces Jem’Appelle,
a petite brunette with a dodgy French accent who channels Piaf with renditions
of Padam Padam, Je Ne Regrette Rien and Autumn Leaves.
Allegro’s final set
includes Santa Claus Is Driving The Tram and a finale in which he dragoons an
audience member to lip-sync his rowdy version of We Wish You A Merry Christmas.
We can assume that he
didn’t realise his victim was also his reviewer. Lucky it was fun on stage with