Tag: spanky

REVIEW: Melbourne Cabaret Festival’s CLOSING GALA

Olympians, Oprah and marriage equality in fabulous festival finale

By Bradley Storer

The stars of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival joined together at Ormond Hall on the festival’s closing night to raise funds for and support the cause for Marriage Equality.

Tara Minton, a British-based Australian harpist and singer, played selections from her festival show about the songs of Joni Mitchell, enchanting with her ethereal arrangements of ‘Woodstock’ and ‘Smitten’ and a voice that combined delicacy with a surprising power. Karin ‘Danger’ Muiznieks showed off the breadth of her range (as well as a dead on Piaf impression) in a tune that summarised the highs and lows of the Festival accompanied by Cameron Thomas.

Jon Jackson astonished the audience with his incredible range in an Etta James classic and a heartfelt song about the joys of marriage and children (made all the poignant by Jackson’s remarks about the inability to marry his partner of fifteen years). Cabaret diva Tina del Twist (the drag alter-ego of Wes Snelling) took to the stage with an imaginary back up band, crooning snatches of songs in a voice of spine-tingling power, in between bouts of wandering the stage in an absent-minded haze that felt like a three-act play in itself!

After intermission international drag cabaret star Spanky re-opened proceedings with some rock’n’roll sexiness as she sauntered through the crowd, accompanied by guitarist Robert Tripolino, before stunning with the Madonna tune ‘Revolver’ from his 2012 Green Room award-winning show Candice McQueen. Jazz chanteuse Jade Leonard took to the stage with her self-penned gay anthem ‘Equal Love’ before announcing her engagement to drag performer Art Simone (also present on the night) and inviting the audience to their nuptials at the next Equal Love Rally.

Matthew Mitcham as MC for the evening charmed with a ukulele mash-up of Kylie tunes for his opening, and guided the rest of the event with awkwardly adorable enthusiasm. This being a fundraiser for marriage equality Mitcham played to certain elements of the crowd, performing an impromptu striptease to ‘Barbie Girl’ (accompanied on the harp by Minton) which I’m sure left half the audience with spontaneous pregnancy. Later he showed off more of his… ahem… ‘assets’… during the auction which raised prices significantly!

Closing Gala

The night closed with a special guest performance by Oprah (played by Rachel Dunham), fresh from her Melbourne Cabaret season in Oprahfication, who regaled us with tales of starting out as a young black woman in television and bringing the house down with a voice that shook the rafters.

An incredible end to one of Australia’s fastest growing festivals, displaying the phenomenal talent on offer every year.

 Venue: Ormond Hall, 557 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Date: 7th July 2013

Time: 7:45pm

REVIEW: Candice McQueen is NASTY

A hot night and an hilarious show

By Jessica Cornish

Candice McQueen has ‘been a lotta places, seen a lotta faces, and fucked a lotta races.’

The immortal demi-god who watched the crucifixion of Christ and chilled with the ancient pharaohs of Egypt told the tale of her 90’s love affair to a packed opening night Butterfly Club crowd last week.

Nasty is a brand new work performed by Spanky (Candice McQueen). This tranny superstar previously worked in London’s famous Bistrotheque for seven years and was proud to present her new show at The Butterfly Club as part of the 2012 Midsummer Festival.

The Mister Sister (with a fluro-pink wig dangling over her shoulders, and a malfunctioning glittering false eyelash threatening to crush her right eye) kept her hot and sweaty audience laughing all night.

The opening rap was followed by a hilarious narrative of her secret birth in front of an array of silver baboons, since her mother with a fleeting Asian/Spanish accent was tragically dying of a melting heart, and was forced to hand the small child over to an African monkey to raise as his own.

Initially the show, Nasty, was equally quite hard to follow. Hilarious, certainly – however, it wasn’t clear where the show as a whole was going. Fifteen minutes into the piece we finally learn of her love for a man named River, and the show begins to explore their naughty nineties relationship of love, loss, love and loss once more.

In between Candice’s spoken monologues of her experiences with River were splashes of songs accompanied by her acoustic guitarist/ukele player, Kylie. With her long black hair, purple glasses and loose fitted t-shirt she sat quietly in the corner awaiting her moments to shine. Occasionally Kylie also provided harmonic vocal lines to Candice’s songs which lifted the musical pieces significantly. Their voices blended together beautifully, and gave the musical pieces a whole new energy and vibrancy.

Whilst the musical composition of Nasty was nonetheless fairly uninventive, the banter in between the numbers made up for the lack of musical genius. Stand-out moments were Candice proving that the lovable Jack from Titanic was in fact a gay lad unfairly manhandled by a frumpy and loud Rose, and her segments retelling the loss of River in a risqué night club where her famous Australian father was DJ’ing at the time. 

Finally the show did demonstrate to its audience that the only point of human life was for all of us to find love, be loved and love in return, proved to be a great night out, and the sweaty audience thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Nasty was part of the the Midsumma Festival at The Butterfly Club.

Dates: 31 Jan – 5 Feb

Times: Tue, Wed & Sun 8pm, Thu-Sat 9pm