Before Club Swizzle starts, there is a party atmosphere: the audience conversation is animated and energised, selfies are being snapped and phone videos capture the moment.
The impressive Swizzle band members take their places and the safely saucy enjoyment explodes into action as the Club Swizzle Boys shuffle audience members away, bar stools and chairs fly precariously close and the bar rapidly transforms into a stage.
A conga-line of audience members is visible up high and host Reuben Kaye (Ruby) – in a bright, glittery jacket and enormous black eyelashes – gets the show off to a high-energy start with his powerful cabaret voice and jokes flying at a rapid pace.
Kaye (who won the best cabaret show award at this year’s Fringe Festival) is an exceptional performer who establishes the tone of the evening. The Swizzle band play continuously throughout the night, skillfully accompanying the cast: in true circus/cabaret fashion, all the artists, musicians and stagehands are multi-skilled and do whatever is required for the show.
Petite Belgian singer and burlesque artist Laurie Hagen’s first appearance is as a sozzled stripper in pink who struggles to get her gear off; later, she returns all in black, using a large man from the audience to produce further belly laughs. Hagan also appears in only her knickers, doing a “reverse” striptease that ultimately sees her slip into a fur and hat – she can sing, act, dance and certainly knows how to entertain.
Aerialist Frédérique Cournoyer Lessard performs a beautiful act which sees him swing out over the audience, while Shay Horay has everyone in stitches with his rubber-band facial distortions.
The Club Swizzle Boys (Canadians Joren Dawson and Will Underwood and Australians Ben Lewis Simon McClure), stylishly dressed as waiters, are fantastic with their acrobatics, balancing and athleticism. They jump through hoops, climb and perform on a pole, are lifted up high by their wrists, balance, flip, slide, smile and continually surprise with their skills.
In the second half, Kaye sings up a storm and sets up an audience challenge which on this night two good-hearted souls joined in enthusiastically, much to everyone’s delight. He and Hagen perform an outstanding duet, and Kaye finishes with a theatrical “One More for the Road”.
Club Swizzle is a relaxed night of circus, musical theatre, vaudeville and comedy which should leave everyone feeling full of life.
Club Swizzle is playing at the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Space Theatre until December 31. The show is recommended for ages 15+.
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