Butt Kapinski is inspired by and performed as a film noir murder mystery, so it was fitting that the Adelaide Cabaret Festival opening night performance took place on a wild and stormy night.
Detective Kapinski – played by American actor and comedy artist Deanna Fleysher – weaves his way around the various small tables spread through the room and as the first of several bodies is discovered, accusations begin to fly. Unsuspecting audience members find themselves assuming a variety of roles, from sound effects artists, to dead bodies, drug dealers, street workers and more.
Throughout the show, we’re also asked to make decisions on Kapinski’s behalf (such as what side of town should he investigate first), and those decisions – combined with the entirely improvised performances of audience members – directly impact the tone and direction of the show.
Fleysher delivers an enthusiastic performance, bringing the character of Kapinski to life with her hilarious mannerisms, over-the-top antics and strange costume choice.
It’s a brave act to hand over the reins of a show to the audience, and her quick wit and adaptability were tested by the increasingly strange curve balls thrown her way on this night. Unfortunately, the plot twists (while creative) became increasingly confusing and led Kapinski further and further from the investigation.
Despite the murders remaining unsolved, Butt Kapinski was an enjoyable show which pushed the boundaries of social and political correctness with its lewd humour and adult content.
Recommended for ages 18+, Butt Kapinski plays at Art Space, in the Adelaide Festival Centre, until June 16. See more Adelaide Cabaret Festival coverage here.