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Review: Reuben Kaye - APOCALIPSTIK at Enmore Theatre

Review by Lauren Donikian

In his gold sequined oversized jacket with black velour flared pants, matching gloves, black suede boots, a black sheer singlet, black cummerbund, black suspenders, and statement red lip, Kaye opens the show with an original song and dazzling smile. Over the 80-minute performance Kaye shares a part of his family history, focusing on his uncle Helmut whom he met once when he was young and left a lasting impression on him. Speaking out against politics, capitalism and the world falling apart Kaye is honest, heartfelt, and hilarious.

The staging is simple because Kaye is really all you need to be focusing on. A single art deco poster is hanging in the middle of the stage with Reuben Kaye’s face and name on it. On the stage are members of the band ‘Close Contacts’ which includes, a pianist, guitarist, bassist, and drummer. Draped red curtains are hanging behind and the stage is lit by red and blue lighting. When the poster is raised Kaye is standing between a gold structure which looks like the head of a throne. He descends from the stairs at the back of the stage in all his glory and struts towards the audience holding a microphone with inches of hair attached like a high ponytail.  

Through a mix of stand-up, and cabaret Kaye proves that he is a talented writer, intelligent, relevant, and witty. All his references are up to date with what is happening in the real world, and if you have watched the news or scrolled through Tik Tok you’ll know what he is referring to. Kaye pushes the boundaries and breaks through without a scratch – well at least in this performance and stuns the crowd with his power-house vocals and charm. His false lashed eyes flutter and his smile widens as he saunters down the stairs centre stage into the audience where it seems he loves to be.  

After a quick costume change which sees Kaye wearing a full-length black organza cover with statement collar and puff sleeves he can be seen standing under a damaged disco ball, slowly spinning it with one hand. Kaye has the audience transfixed. It is a strikingly beautiful moment, but heartbreaking as well. For all the sass, double entendres and cheeky one liners Kaye is an artist with a message and a mission. That no one should live a life trapped. Trapped in a situation they can’t get out of, trapped physically, or trapped mentally – everyone should be free to be who they are as long as they aren’t hurting anyone. 

Whilst uncovering the mysteries of his uncle Helmut, Kaye was able to find himself. To identify traits from members of his family that he inhabits, and I am not just talking about the family nose. Which I love personally. Kaye’s confidence and self-assuredness could come across as cocky and unnerving, but it doesn’t. He is an incredibly warm character, who speaks his truth and shares his story through jaw-achingly funny jokes and an incredibly talented vocal performance. I am in awe of the powerhouse that is Rueben Kaye and am so happy that the spotlight found him! It is where he belongs, but he will shine brightly wherever he is!

Image Supplied



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