As long as there’s a Spiegeltent anywhere around the globe, There should be a La Soiree to fill it. The old wooden and mirror tent travels across continents, and from between festivals, it draws a rotating group of cabaret and burlesque performers who are as exotic and out of date as the place itself.
The diverse selection of international and local performers was a perfect example of the chocolate box promise of variety in cabaret to please any taste. A stunning Russian circus performer climbed up and dropped down from the Spiegeltent ceiling with an orange ribbon that she tied and spun around her frame. Two buffs wearing bowler hats and three-piece suits performed a series of seemingly impossible balance acts using props made of umbrellas, hatstands, and replicas of Financial Times.
A juggler was strapped to a belching electronic sound device, the other was wearing a Freddy Mercury leather tribute costume, and the third was sexy in a Eurotrash accent before throwing balls into the air to the beats of Queen. The famous Ursula Martinez demonstrated her “hanky trick” to gasps of laughter, and a Canadian duo showed the most bizarre method in drag puppetry.
Australian comedian Gerry Connolly made a surprise appearance in his character to play the Tom Lehrer song on a grand piano as Melbourne’s Yana Alana sat on top of the stage in her stage Mermaid costume, appeared to be somewhat more awkward walking around in than her previous outfit of the minidress, which was rubbed by 3D vaginas. Yana sang about pussies generally.
The other people in our booth were enthralled singing and hooting, as well as singing along with the shows as they requested. The attraction of shows such as La Soiree is, of course, the funfair mirror showcases to the audience. It reflects their desire to believe, at least for a couple of hours, it is true the idea that Yana would invite them over to her sexually sexy party after the show. The fact that “Another One Bites the Dust” really is about juggling, that certain sounds trigger lasers and that the beautiful Russian and the men wearing bowler hats could be single and enjoying a drink at the bar following the show.
Many acts in the Brisbane Festival’s La Soiree lineup will change depending on how the Festival goes on. However, the common theme of all performances is that the same as the evening party, the title of the show promises lavish, cabaret-style fun. It’s a must for the mature crowd, but not as much because of its strippers, transgression, and double-entendres, but because La Soiree revels in the fun and innocence of these actions, And the children don’t understand the joke.