Review by Michelle Sutton
After a sold-out show at The Vanguard earlier this year, Cabaret le Queer have brought their song and dance theatrical tribute extraordinaire to the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace at Cremorne.
The Hayden Orpheum built in the 1930s, boasting elegant art deco grandeur throughout is a lovely aesthetic backdrop for All That Fosse, which pays tribute to Bob Fosse, legendary choreographer and director and namesake of the famous Fosse style of theatre jazz including the iconic jazz hands. The extravagant adornments on the walls and ceilings and statues on either side of the stage certainly set the scene for beauty, glamour and excess and help transport the audience to the past. This is particularly fun for numbers from Cabaret which was set in 1930 in Weimar Germany.
Lady Divine is the MC for the night and she entertains and dazzles throughout the show. Her costumes are incredible, extravagant, excessive and glittery in the best way a cabaret costume can be. She sings many numbers live and particularly shines in the fun, personality-fuelled numbers including Big Spender from Sweet Charity and When You’re Good To Mama from Chicago. Her performance is not as strong in the emotional, intimate ballads but still manages to execute them well with her charisma and stage presence.
The cast of performers includes Kate Garrett, Sarah Cregan, Peaka Boobé, Vixen Heart and Asuma Jender. All of the performers are strong dancers in their own right, with beautiful technique and charisma. The numbers are greatly aided by many different fabulous costumes including colour-coordinated sparkly fringe leotards with matching fans for each dancer. Asuma Jender performs several solo numbers, showcasing her dramatic and comedic ability as well as precise dance technique and skills, performing a memorable rendition of Mein Heirr complete with chair choreography and an endearing and comedic performance of Mr Cellophane.
The stand-out number of the show is Big Spender from Sweet Charity featuring Sarah Cregan as the lead dancer. Cregan is magnetic in the number, connecting with the audience and hitting every move with precision and power. The energy of the entire cast lifted as they seemed to be enjoying themselves the most in this particular dance. Lady Divine’s theatrical vocals enhanced the number perfectly adding all of the drama and punch.
Cabaret Le Queer delivers most of the numbers that fans of Fosse would be expecting, except for Cell Block Tango which would have been a fun addition to the show and allowed the performers an opportunity to do more acting and showcase their individual skills and personalities more. Although the Hayden Orpheum is a very grand and beautiful venue for a tribute to Bob Fosse, I think in the end Cabaret Le Queer may have made it more difficult for themselves as the size of the theatres at the Orpheum are very large and long, with audience members separated and spread far apart from each other and the stage, not typical at all of a cabaret environment. The distance adds a sense of formality, making it harder for the MC to tell jokes and to create an intimate connection with the audience. The setting also made minor mistakes more noticeable in the dances as it was easier to spot if a dancer was slightly out of unison for example.
All That Fosse is very fun, glittery and entertaining but I think would be even more fun in a more rowdy and intimate venue where the audience can also kick up their heels and let loose.