His boyfriend has dumped him. He needs therapy. But does he? He is sick of his body. But he is thrust into the spotlight and has to find an hour of cabaret in his soul.
So what follows is his jumble of story, mime, songs and audience vox pop that gets it all out of his heart and into the space.
As Lionel – played by actor and cabaret artist Dash Kruck – muses near the end: “Sometimes it takes having your heart ripped out to see what’s going wrong, to see that it wasn’t him but you.”
And he goes back to a perfect afternoon in the rain, having sex on the bonnet of a car. The question that runs through the show is how to keep the flower of passion going.
Some of Lionel’s orgasms of pain reminded me of a David Brent (from The Office) at his most unintentionally revealing. My partner thought of Tim Minchin as an influence. The answer to Lionel’s problem seems to be to not worry so much and just move on.
What Dash Kruck provides us is cabaret. He gives us a persona that says something about the world and he performs his heart out, along with his excellent piano player.
He tells us that perhaps people are too obsessed with what happened yesterday. It’s time to get some philosophy, to toughen up.
Kruck is brave to do this show. It’s one man, in the spotlight (with some help from audience member participation); he does not tell jokes or rely on popular songs. His work is original.
There may be some moments where it is a little thin, and his singing voice isn’t the world’s greatest, but that only seems to enhance the vulnerability of the persona. The show is worth seeing.
Dash Kruck is performing at Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre, again tonight and tomorrow night.