Suave and satirical cabaret charm
By Bradley Storer
Announced onstage by accompanist and co-composer Michael Roulston, Australian-born cabaret performer Dusty Limits burst onstage, suited in black with a hint of feathers, and charmingly commanded the audience from his first moment with clear expertise. Beginning with the cheerily negative ‘Is It Too Late?’, Dusty walked us through the back-catalogue of his songwriting with Roulston, interspersed with witty asides and remarks about the state of the modern world.
One of the foremost performers in the European-Weimar cabaret tradition, Dusty was utterly charming and charismatic throughout the entire show, utilizing his crisp diction, a clear delectation for words and a warm and beautiful lower register to maximum effect, as well as a few well-placed and stunning high notes that thrilled with their power. The socially-critical aspect of Weimar cabaret was heavily present, with topics covered in the show included the hypocrisy of religious leaders, the ‘problems’ of the super rich and a touching elegy to the continuing problem of homelessness. Roulston’s sensitive and versatile accompaniment was a huge contributor to the impact of every song, and the pair’s long-standing collaboration was clearly evident with both responding instinctively to the rhythm of the other.
A clear audience favourite was a jaunty and macabre number about an undead family reunion, the weird and embarrassing members of the family inhabiting the song clearly familiar to many. And of course, another particularly hit was the number without which no dark and pessimistic cabaret is complete: the drinking song.
Some of the particularly British references in the song may have gone over the audience’s head, but the misanthropic humour was most definitely universal. If you have a taste for the twisted and the dark, catch this homegrown treasure while you still can!
Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne VIC 3000
Dates: Wed 21st – Sunday 25th June.
Prices: $32 Full, $28 Concession, Members $26, Groups (6+) $25
Bookings: thebutterflyclub.com, or at the venue.