Dance Hall: The Diva Carousel

Seductive and scintillating performance art 

By Leeor Adar

Moira Finucane and her troupe of alt-glitterati storm upon the Luna Park Speigeltent; it’s all shimmies and wild confidence, and I admit I’m excited to see what’s dished up.

Finucane & Smith (Finucane and partner Jackie Smith) are my favourite kind of art collectors – they find unique artists to celebrate and perform with, taking their shows across the globe and showcasing a daring kind of stage appeal not often seen in Australia. I was first enamoured with Finucane’s work in the acclaimed Carnival of Mysteries, which submerged its audience in an unworldly and exciting place.

Finucane has an enormous stage presence; admittedly it’s unfathomable to think of anyone like her. Her magnificent height and figure coupled with her tremendous voice command a room, and it is at this point she rapidly takes her disco-pumping show to socio-political territory. No stone is left unturned in Finucane’s summation of the week’s events. Whether you agree with her or not, it was an unexpected turn for a dance-hall inspired show. It’s not the first time a performer has turned up the heat in the age of live-streaming, but I was expecting Finucane to take a different approach.

Once we were sufficiently enlightened, I was completely sucked into the thumping beats in an ode to various styles of music and performance, particularly to James Welsby voguing out, or the Bollywood craze ignited by Paul Cordeiro. The evening took another turn with the epic voice of Willow Sizer sizzling us with her Berlin-cabaret flair, and Clare St Clare gliding on stage to provide us with her scintillating vocal breathiness.

Dance Hall establishes itself as a variety show of amazing and fearless talent, and as the second act rolled round, I was pleasantly surprised by the humour and brilliance of ideas on display. I marvelled at the wonderful Maude Davey as she spun us into a frenzy of laughs dressed as planet earth, and then serenaded the audience into a misty-eyed state with her ballads. Finucane returned to utterly own the stage in a seductive pie-splattering performance that will have me looking for alternative uses for tomato sauce hereafter. I was eventually thrown by Mama Alto into the depths of my emotions with a rendition of Des’ree’s Kissing You, a performance which absolutely nailed in its final moments the vocal gymnastics of the piece.

Overall, I walked out of the spiegeltent satisfied and a touch overwhelmed. I was seduced by its glamour, blushed at its candour, and sighed at its occasional poignancy.

Dance Hall: The Diva Carousel was performed 10 – 14 October at the St Kilda Spiegeltent in Luna Park. See See here for the latest updates of Finucane & Smith.

Photograph: supplied

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