Wednesday, 20 December 2017

I’m Dreaming of a Christmas Cabaret, Dec 8, 2017 ***

At 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 him!

By Kate Herbert

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