Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Dream Cabaret Line Up

It's a challenge, but I am willing to take it. A once in a lifetime cabaret line up, curated by me, happening only in my head, based only on acts who are still knocking about the Fringe in the last week. The trick is to not only pick them, but work them into an order that would make sense, give structure and entrance. That, and not cheating by picking the entire casts of Vive Le Cabaret or La Clique Royale.

I shall be predictable for my opening act: The Creative Martyrs. They are a Glasgow duo and were called Fringe legends by Fest magazine. They owe as much to Eastern European mime as they do to the Weimar Republic, and few double acts mine the rich seam between totalitarian terror and decadent despondency with such wit and aplomb.

Rather than the crowd-pleasers like Spare Part Baby or War Whore, I'd like to have them singing some of the episodes from last year's narrative based hour... there's nothing as refreshing at the start of an evening as a comic warning on the dangers of the loyalty card society.

The  Voodoo Rooms, 4 -25 August

At this point in the evening, I'd like some dance. The easy choice would be burlesque, but a sequence from Sanpapie's I am Son would be more innovative. I'd like the bit where they brandish a white flag, parade around like fashion models and invoke the exploitation of women and the tyranny of fashion: a quick reminder to the audience that satire doesn't have to be blunt, but can be complex and allusive.

Dance Base, 16 - 15 August 


Heading towards the centre of the evening, and time for a classic object manipulator. Mat Ricardo, Vaudeville Schmuck, probably needs little eulogising. He not only does that trick where he pulls off the tablecloth from beneath cups and saucers, but he flips it back on again.

Of course, his juggling skills aren't the only thing that get him on this special, imaginary bill. Ricardo's persona has a bit of the bite that I admire in other neo-cabaret acts up from the smoke. I'd like him to do his pieces while reciting the speech he made last year about the way that TV talent shows are destroying the variety tradition and transforming artistic skill into the equivalent of a dog doing a card trick.

Voodoo Room, 1 - 26 August

Although they are far less explicitly political than my other choices, I fancy Bourgeois and Maurice as my singing finale. The dysfunctional brother and sister mess up sexual and gendered stereotypes, recalling a 1970s Bowie, if he had used less smack and his egotism avoided the self-pity pitched against a practical pianist who would be happier in a back room bar. Shackled together by bonds that are never clear, they are recognisably in the same tradition as Frisky and Mannish, although there are less pop references to confuse my audience of older men who thought that this was a free burlesque night.

Underbelly, 2 - 26 August

Only now, with my line up nearly complete, do I realise that I need a compère. I'll call up Dee from the Itsy Collective: they are running a cabaret every night as part of PBH's Free Fringe, and her DIY ethic, and rejection of the conventional MC styling (she doesn't have an act that she needs to present, so her skills are all about dealing with the audience and rocking the house) appeal to my overall anarchic curation.

Voodoo Room, 3 -26 August



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