The Odditorium entertains, baffles and delights
By Owen James
A vaudevillian cabaret night full of circus tricks and magic is hiding at The MC Showroom, just off Chapel Street in Prahan. The Odditorium is packed full of beautiful simplicity, daring feats of showmanship and pure imagination.
Our host, Sophie DeLightful, invites us into this night of immersive entertainment with an invitation (or perhaps warning) of upcoming audience interaction, her raunchy and bold personality providing the energy and presence needed for a cabaret host – she fits the role perfectly. Her powerful vocals during songs scattered throughout the show are sensational, providing bursts of energy at just the right moment. And her Buffer Boys will give any masseuse in Melbourne a run for their money.
The very talented Mr Marmalade charmed us for a solid half-hour, eliciting numerous gasps and rounds of applause from the audience. Marmalade is a highly skilled (and charming) magician who is also a truly beautiful storyteller – a simple paper bag can become an object of mystery with his carefully chosen words. His utter perfection in sleight of hand occurs just inches away from his transfixed audience, each trick as mesmerising as the last. Entering with just two small bags of tricks and a moustache with a life of its own, we get the feeling that Mr Marmalade’s act could travel and delight absolutely anywhere, street side or amphitheatre.
After a short interval, The Quizzical Mr Jeff brings his visual, prop-based comedy to the stage for the second act – and while the stage of the MC Showroom isn’t the smallest I’ve seen, Mr Jeff certainly needs every single inch of it for his dazzlingly physical finale! The Quizzical Mr Jeff is a daring performer, who uses every prop he brings onstage to its full possible extent (a personal highlight being a tango with a hat stand!). As we watch everyday objects take on a magical life of their own, this mystical man utilises audience interaction as well as a heavy reliance on precise timing of audio cues to bring his unique world to life – although further rehearsal to perfect the synchronised timing might have been beneficial.
Sound mixing and lighting from co-producer Alexandra Nel was simple but effective, LEDs creating soft washes of colour that faded into blackness.
The Odditorium entertains, baffles and delights, just like a true night of vaudeville and circus magic should. It is the perfect show for this intimate venue and a wonderful evening’s entertainment as an antidote to life outside – you will leave with pained cheeks from unavoidable smiles. I am looking forward to suggested future varied instalments of this collection of sideshow oddities!
Dates: 11 – 20 January
Venue: The MC Showroom, 48 Clifton St, Prahran
Prices: $22 – $35