Adelaide Fringe 2012
The chanteuse Bernadette Byrne and her half-man, half-woman assistant, Victor Victoria, whisk away the audience on a journey of sexual self-discovery, sly song lyrics, and utterly gleeful smut. Bernadette commands the stage, telling tales of ping pong balls in Thailand, crotch fetish in Germany, her desperate attempts to battle a seemingly immortal boner, and the phenomenon known as the ‘Danger Wank’. Victor Victoria, secretly in love with Bernadette, is there every step of the way, with a razor sharp droll wit and a mastery of various musical instruments. Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Eastern European cabaret without the ‘Trotsky Tickle’, and these wickedly funny women live up to their reputation as sexual revolutionaries.
Bernadette, and her ‘freak’ Victor Victoria, arrive in Adelaide to sexually liberate all and sundry with song and dance in the style of cabaret. The two of them have travelled around the world, having wild adventures. From Bernadette training in Thailand to do something… interesting, with ping pong balls, to Victor warding off a horde of camel-toe crazy ladies in Germany, the duo have ran into some sticky situations. Victor reveals to the audience that he/she is secretly in love with Bernadette with a soulful rendition of ‘Jealous Guy’, which would have been sweet… if Victor hadn’t killed Bernadette’s former suitor with a pillow, and then Bernadette, unaware that her lover was now lacking life, had mistaken rigor mortis in his nether regions for something else entirely. After dismissing the ‘scrubs’ one finds in Hungry Jacks at four in the morning, and demonstrating ‘the Trotsky Tickle’, Bernadette and Victor encourage the audience to remember that life is always about love! Desire! And the occasional wank in public, aka, a Danger Wank!
The performances are polished, and the comedic chemistry between Bernadette and Victor electric. Those plucked from the audience were subjected to some gentle teasing, and props, ad libs and quick-fire questions meant that the pace of the show never faltered, even if some star struck volunteers were lost for words. The music boomed throughout the red-curtained tent, with the crowd clapping along to melodies from a keyboard, accordion, ukulele, and even a kazoo. Bernadette, the lead singer, had a wonderfully deep and sultry voice, and every now and then unleashed a purr or a growl, shaking her black feathers for all her worth. For every familiar song, there was an original one thrown into the mix, the lyrics being the perfect blend between cheeky and clever.
It’s hard to resist the siren song of a saucy revue, and I found myself being swept along with all the fun. Bernadette engaged the audience well with winks and sweeping gestures, and Victor’s quips always hit the right note. The only time the laughter got a little nervous was when the ladies began joking around about Australian politics, as given the current leadership battle, it put a few people on the edge, me included. However, soon the jokes turned to the Soviet Union, and things began heating up again. A gag about ‘The Iron Fist’ was a particular highlight.
Witty and wicked, ‘EastEnd Cabaret: The Revolution Will Be Sexual’ is a cabaret that celebrates all that is dirty and deviant. If you’re looking for a night of song, dance, laughter and lusty lyrics, you won’t find better than this.