Review By Lisa Lanzi
This fandangled-feathered-fabulous show returns to Fringe 2023. Presented by Hey Boss, you can brunch or not depending on your ticket, with this fierce, entertaining, and energetic bunch. EVERYONE is greeted by smiling staff and a Mimosa, simply the best way to fight Fringe fatigue and start your weekend shenanigans.
Jazida is a scintillating host who gives the lowdown on what to do (enjoy yourself and share the energy), what to expect (sexy-ness, a little nudity, a lot of naughty), and how to show your appreciation to those who can do what you cannot (scream and applaud - a lot). The pint-sized Jazida also emphasises inclusivity and indeed, an Auslan interpreter is on stage for the entire show, god bless them! These artists are on stage EARLY (11:30am) and most of them are doing their own gigs at night so the two-way sharing of energy is the best way to get the most out of your experience.
After checking in to enquire about any ‘burlesque virgins’ in the room (there were a few!), Jazida (herself Entertainer of the Year - Miss Burlesque Australia Grand Final 2016) introduced the core ensemble and the first act, with a friendly warning that nudity would be definitely be present. Crowned queen of burlesque Imogen Kelly (Burlesque Hall of Fame, Las Vegas) sashayed onto stage in a very pink Marie Antoinette confection, serenaded us with poetry and sweetly and saucily reduced her attire to spangles and about 15 pairs of knickers - you had to be there. Not only a fabulous entertainer but an acclaimed writer, director, and producer, the Australian star has several degrees, speaks an array of languages, has performed in 22 countries to date, and become a mother. World domination will probably follow.
A talented Morgan ‘Lovefool’ Wilson entertained with innuendo and circus arts while some Tom Jones Sex Bomb set the mood. There just may have been spinning balls, hilarity, and a banana kiss, not to mention a strategically placed sneaker. A stunning Kitty Obsidian (Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi), ‘fierce, fat, fAboriginal’, arrived swathed in glorious feathered wings and backgrounded by the haunting strains of Native Tongue by Mo'ju. After artfully minimizing her wardrobe Kitty walked over broken glass for us, as well as reclining atop it, legs sometimes akimbo - one of their less confronting acts I believe.
In between fabulous performance feats, the ensemble served up some tomfoolery for each other and the audience. An actual bride-to-be (at her ‘Hens party’) won a creative twerking contest where a basket of plastic ‘eggs’ tied to her waist had to be emptied by means of the afore-mentioned move. Her prize? Doing Bloody Mary ‘shots’ with Jazida - the vodka theme to return at the end of the hour.
The velvet-voiced actor, opera singer and drag star Le Gateau Chocolat was next with a ‘catty’ rendition of Memory. This multi-faceted performer from the UK is a force on stage and appearing in A Night At The Musicals 3: Summer Lovin Tour at this year’s Fringe. Born George Ikediashi in west London, Gateau was raised in Nigeria but returned to London for secondary school and a law degree. Such is the prestige of Smashed: The Brunch Party - they attract quality acts.
Take Malia Walsh for instance. This performer conquers a champagne bottle/trapeze like nobody else - wearing lime green and black HEELS. Elsewhere in the show their Brunch character totters about smiling and stumbling as if they are the alcoholic of the troupe yet in reality boasts over 12 years’ experience touring physical theatre, circus and children’s entertainment regionally, nationally and internationally. A proclaimed ‘boss lady’ and a multi award winning Victorian Producer.
To the chirpy sound of Bloody Mary is the girl I love. (Now ain't that too damn bad) from South Pacific, Jazida is back on stage in tomato red and celery green and the audience are totally up for whatever is to come next. What IS next is a fast change, de-robing routine AND some fire stick work with accompanying gasps from onlookers. This performer seems to have endless talents and a host with the most.
If Fringe isn’t the time to indulge in some circus-y burlesque on a weekend morning, when would you dare? Created by Victoria Falconer and Peta Spurling-Brown and winner - naturally - of the ‘Spirit of the Fringe’ Weekly Award (2021), Smashed : The Brunch Party should be part of everyone’s staple ‘artistic’ diet.