Anyone who says they are not slightly transfixed by gladiator style sport is lying. With this in mind, MC Reuben Kaye offered us a handful of talented international cabaret and burlesque stars in back to back battle.
The result was a string of live and uncensored ‘battle rounds’ from true entertainers which made that recent reality TV phenomenon look like a preschool craft class.
Slick traditional burlesque from Vespa White morphed into queer, confronting and ultimately very funny burlesque work from Betty Grumble and Aaron Manhattan.
Standout vocal visitor for the night was Natalie Gamsu, who rocketed from the stage and beyond with her riveting version of Bowie’s Space Oddity. She was ably supported by the smooth JC Thomas Band, whose loungy list of originals and clever covers linked the night’s less relaxed moments together.
The comic cabaret of Sheridan Harbridge gave me the most pleasure I have had from a voice and ukelele act for some time. She was a subtle superpower on the side of the cabaret artists. Speaking of superpowers, Reuben Kaye was a formidable force as the MC. His smile and style just became more glamorous through his performances which featured quick adult one liners, self-deprecating quips and plenty of local jokes.
His fabulous voice in a tender rendering of Men At Work’s Land Down Under was a patriotic tribute. The venue resounded with applause and the weeping of punters nostalgic for gap year backpacking days.
The Ring was a tantalizing taste of many cabaret and burlesque possibilities. It was festival-worthy and shocked many of us out of our working-week rut.