REVIEW: Finucane and Smith with GLORY BOX: PARADISE

Glorious performances

By Myron My

The highly revered Finucane & Smith have returned to fortyfivedownstairs with their subversive and seductive show Glory Box: Paradise that brings together a myriad of extremely talented women for a variety of acts, from circus to dance to cabaret performance, in a non-stop evening of evocative entertainment.

Glory Box Paradise Image by Jodie Hutchinson

Under the creative direction of Jackie Smith, Moira Finucane soon shows us why she has been so successful over the years, with sell-out seasons around the world for almost a decade. Her performance of ‘A Sunny Afternoon’ was highly emotional whereby, with no spoken word beyond the lyrics, she made a moving statement about our notions of beauty in society. When paired with U2’s hit ‘With or Without You’, the room was frozen in place with the audience deep in contemplation, having been left to our own devices to determine the underscored meaning.

Having experienced British cabaret star Ursula Martinez four years ago in London I was very excited to be seeing her again and I was not disappointed. Also sometimes referred to as the Red Hanky Lady, Martinez’s ‘Hanky Panky’ is always going to be a crowd favourite. Her collaborations with Guinness World Record hoola hooper Jess Love were highly entertaining and the final reveal of ‘Quick Change Sex Change’ proved that with a show like this, we can always expect the unexpected.

It’s an evening of no lulls or disappointments with strong performances by Holly Durant, Lily Paskas and Yumi Umiumare throughout, as well as a few songs by Yana Alana fresh from her Melbourne Cabaret Festival season. There are also a number of special guests joining these remarkable women throughout the season including Rhonda Burchmore and Paul Capsis.

There is a lot of nudity in Glory Box: Paradise but I found it to be quite liberating and affirming, even as a male, to see all these women being nude, or close to, on stage and not being embarrassed or making a big deal about it. There is a strong underlying message in this show regarding what it means to be a beautiful woman, in that all women are beautiful and should never be ashamed of their bodies – a sentiment you hear often but rarely witness being enacted.

In short, you will laugh, you will be inspired, you will think, and things will get messy – especially if you are sitting in the front few rows – but that’s all part of the fun and celebration of Finucane & Smith’s Glory Box: Paradise.

Venue: fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Season: Until 11 August | Thurs 7:00pm, Fri-Sat 7:oopm and 9:30pm, Sun 5:30pm

Tickets: From $25 – $88.88

Bookings: http://www.fortyfivedownstairs.com/events or 9662 9966

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