REVIEW: Ali McGregor’s LATE-NITE VARIETY-NITE NIGHT

Comedy cabaret compendium is a nite to remember

By Bradley Storer

Introduced by her sullen handmaiden Flaxen McGinty (Virginia Ginty), the radiant Ali McGregor sauntered down through the audience, serenading us with sensual song and sublime vocals.

Ali McGregor

Although more than capable of entertaining us all by herself, the former Opera Australia leading lady took to the stage to present a rotating cast of comedians, burlesque and cabaret performers in what has become one of the main-stay events of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

On this particular night there was a wonderful selection of talent on display. Matt Okine, last year’s Best Newcomer at the Comedy Festival, showed great comedic skill as he regaled us with the awkward tale of having an African father and a former Nazi Youth for a grandfather (‘he wasn’t Nazi enough that he killed Jews,’ Okine reassured us, ‘…Just enough to be pope’). With bright eyes and a cheeky smile, burlesque performer Agent Lynch unveiled an instrument McGregor later informed us was called a ‘vagilaphone’.

Renowned international cabaret duo EastEnd Cabaret dropped in for an exclusive performance, chanteuse Bernadette Byrne and her sidekick Victor Victoria raising the temperature of the evening with a saucy accordion cover of ‘I’m Too Sexy’. Comedian Dave Callan closed the night with a spontaneous, fully choreographed performance of Beyonce’s ‘Crazy in Love’, complete with back-up dancers, that brought down the house.

McGregor interspersed songs from her latest album throughout the show, including jazz and funk re-vamped versions of 80’s songs by The Prodigy and Salt ‘n’ Pepa. Her ‘buttress’ McGinty joined in on duets with her velvetly smooth voice, also taking centre stage herself to sing a cheeky tune dedicated to the virtues of her hand-crafted chair (to be understood in all its smutty glory, it must be seen in context). A true ‘late night’ show which combines ribaldry, entertainment and cheap low-brow humour all with a hint of classiness, a delicious cocktail of after-dark delights.

TIME: 10:30 (9:30 Sunday)

VENUE: The Famous Spiegeltent at the Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd

TICKETS: Thur/Sun $30, Fri/Sat $35, Conc Thur/Sun $25, Conc Fri/Sat $30, Group (6+) $25

BOOKING: www.ticketmaster.com.au, www.comedyfestival.com.au, Ticketmaster 1300 660 013, Arts Centre 1300 182 183, or at the venue.

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