Tag: John Thorn

Review: MADEMOISELLE by Michael Dalley

Behind closed doors is where camp comedy begins

By Myron My

I was not sure what to expect from the world premier season of Mademoiselle, advertised as “a gothic camp music theatre revue” with two satirical manservants singing tunes about what could have been, but I knew I would be in for a treat.

Our two manservants, played by creators Michael Dalley and Paul McCarthy, sneak into their employer’s boudoir and let loose some glitzy musical numbers revolving around fantasy, regret, power and servitude.  The very opening song relaxed the audience and assured us that we were in for a night of cheeky laughs.

Mademoiselle is a very wordy and witty revue with just a few jokes falling flat. However, the characters had such an air of assumed superiority that you had to second-guess yourself when you didn’t laugh – was it because the joke wasn’t that funny or because you were just too lower class to get it?!

The banter and bitchy retorts between the two servants as they try to gain one up on each other was a joy to watch and Dalley and McCarthy have a great rapport together. You can clearly see they are having a ball with this. However, I would have liked to see the pair push themselves more with volume and vocal projection – at times, their speaking voices were louder than their singing ones, as if they were holding back during the songs. Also, there were moments during the duets when the performers were not in time with each other, but they were far and few between.

Composer John Thorn on piano was delightful to hear and played with great precision. Favourite numbers of the night were “The Passive Aggressive Filipino Amway Lady” which had me in stitches when the title character met the articulate call centre operator from Dubai, and “The Nasty Queen From Menswear” made delightfully scarier by the fact that I too was once a victim of such a person in previous employment.

The sets and costume, while minimal, added so much to this revue. The constant presence of the toilet was a constant reminder that despite their airs, these two manservants were just that and nothing more. The single props for their impersonations were well-chosen and clearly distinguished their changing characters: from Indian call-centre workers and Filipino Amway ladies to bitchy sales assistants, they were spot on, which is no surprise given Dalley and McCarthy’s established performance backgrounds in comedy and theatre.

Mademoiselle is certainly cheeky good old-fashioned camp fun that will see you leaving the theatre with many belly laughs having been had.

Venue: fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane
Season: Until 19 August 2012 | Tues to Sat 8:00pm, Sun 5:00pm
Tickets: $35 Full | $28 Conc
Bookings: 03 9662 9966 or http://www.fortyfivevdownstairs.com


Down into cabaret depths with this seductive and scurvy tale…

By Kate Boston Smith

Tommy Bradson is a passionate performer who barely draws breath during his poetic and emblazed performance.

His cabaret Pirate Rhapsody Mermaid Requiem for the Melbourne Cabaret Festival is an unbridled verbal and musical explosion about love, life, sex and all the murky waters in between. 

It is as though he has been set adrift and drunk the waters on which he floats to then return in search of truth and real connection. 

Celebrating curiosity in a scene where he explores “Without wonder where would we be?”, his show condemns the mediocre meanderings of taken-for-granted lives.

Split into two stories, Bradson’s cabaret serves up a feast of tales and observations.  His words ignite, lighting up the dark theatrette with a blaze that lingers long after he has continued into his next thought. 

Bradson performs in thick accents, one being old, rich, Irish and at times almost impossible to decipher.  This is by no means a hindrance to the performance as it draws you further in.

Moreover Bradson holds his audience by the balls, or whatever they consider safe and dear to them

There are few performers who can write and deliver shows to this magnitude of divine agony without making the audience cringe or wish they were elsewhere. 

Pirate Rhapsody Mermaid Requiem is a one-man show with the spirit of 10-strong cast.  It moves, dances, provokes, interacts and evokes sentiment we can relate to in our darkest hours….all with the sharp slap of dark humour to it

This is a show that could nestle into the bosom off Broadway or in the crotch of the theatre-set in East London.  It is poetic, it is raw and it is not for the faint hearted.

Pirate Rhapsody Mermaid Requiem is part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival 2011

Written and Performed by Tommy Bradson

Composed and Arranged by John Thorn

Final festival show tonight Thursday 21 July, 8.15pm

Tickets $33 / $30

The Incubator, Auspicious Arts, 228 Bank Street, South Melbourne