I have now been to After Hours Cabaret Club two years in a row, but what I witnessed on the opening night of the annual Adelaide Fringe Festival was unlike anything I had ever experienced at the speakeasy-style set up of the Wonderland Spiegeltent at Gluttony - and it has also significantly raised my expectations for what could classify as a quintessentially Fringe-y experience. Having been a seasoned show-goer, I was expecting a similar structure of the show and while I had a basic idea what I was walking into, I quickly learned that I had to forget everything because I had no idea what I was walking to!
Welcoming us to the show was none other than Miss Burlesque Australia Bettie Bombshell, who was dressed in a shirred coral-coloured ball gown and looked as stunning as one could imagine. We were also greeted by the larger-than-life personality and cabaret superstar Tash York, who was donning a gorgeous black sparkly jumpsuit with a smile that could instantly lift up your mood in seconds.
Hosted by Tash York, we were given fair warning that this show was all about embracing the weird, wacky, and wonderful. It would also involve a ton of moments that would garner the response, "what the f**k" (for all the right reasons, obviously)! The show kicked off with the five-piece live band setting the mood, as Tash encouraged her audiences to strap themselves in for a night of madness, debauchery, rowdiness, and raunchy behaviour - so basically, the essential ingredients for a damn good late-night show.
First up, we were treated to a seductive show by Bettie Bombshell, whose highly animated facial expressions compleimented her performance of strutting her best bits by strategically and seductively stripping off pieces of her costumes, which left us with an eyeful by ending her act on a tasteful and playful note.
Next up, we were serenaded by the lovely and beautiful Marilyn Monroe-muse Dakota Fannee, whose song had some extremely subtle lyrics that purely and elegantly expressed how she wished to be and feel loved. Complete with a fair bit of (not-so-voluntary) audience participation, this act will leave you in a certain tingly mood of sorts.
We were then graced with the presence of Kiwi magician and comedian Jarrod Fell, who plucked out a member of the audience and ended up taking them on a whirlwind adventure by teaching them (and us) just how deceivingly easy it was to be pick-pocketed with a multitude of set of eyes on the duo. Rocking an all-black look (complete with a thick and honestly, envious skill of guyliner), Fell was bursting with a charismatic personality, sharp wit, deliciously dirty innuendos, and a mischievous glimmer in his eyes, as he cleverly engaged his audience and manipulated his meat (the audience member, you dirty minds!) and stripped them of all things shiny and bling-based that were possessed by them. It's safe to say that we were entranced by Fell's skills, which got a bunch of us in the audience (particularly in the final five minutes of his act)!
The next act that took centre stage was the heavily tattooed and incredibly flexible TRO. A contortionist with a body that had zero limits to its bending capabilities, TRO was dressed in a pair of beige overalls with sparkly black booty shorts hiding underneath. What started off as a circus performer unsure of what to do on stage progressed rather quickly to an acrobat with skills that might as well have thrown the concept of gravity out the window.
We then had the ridiculously talented Emily Chilvers come up on stage and demonstrate a set of jaw-dropping aerials skills on a rope. We gasped as she captivated the audience with her elegant ability of free-falling, suspending, twirling, and rapidly swaying from one end of the ceiling to the other. I felt tingles in my feet and felt a strong sense of vertigo, but it was all worth it - the woman was an absolute machine!
With such a stellar lineup of performances, we knew that the final act was going to be a real showstopper. Thanks to Tara Boom, this was effortlessly achieved and left us all in the audience with tears from laughing too hard, in addition to hooting at the top of our lungs for what was...happening before our very eyes. You want to look away, but you simply can't. It's weird, it's chaotic, and it will either make you love or hate popcorn from that point onwards, but I simply urge you to go and experience it yourself, as explaining the...act....would ruin it for you. There is a bit of hula-hooping and there's a popcorn machine strapped to their head. The rest can be left to your wildest imaginations.
It doesn't matter at what point of the night you end up at After Hours Cabaret Club: LOCK IN - be it at the start of your night, or when you're completely off your face, or are simply looking for a grand ol' night out in town with the best company one could ask for, just remember - anything goes After Hours! If you're like a lot of people that I've spoken to, who find the Adelaide Fringe guide overwhelming with its bursting choices of shows, then I would highly recommend buying some tickets to this manic masterpiece. It's a great introductory variety show to those who may be new to the scene, plus it offers an exuberant pool of talent, including acrobatics, magic, contortion, cabaret, burlesque, singing, live music, circus acts (juggling, hula hooping), and so much more. It really does bring in a blend of the best in the performing arts business and it packs a solid punch in a matter of just 60 minutes.
For a first night out at the Diamond Anniversary of the Adelaide Fringe, I could not have asked for a better show to end the night with. Please do yourself (and your friends) a massive favour by going to this show, preferably with a (very) open mind and potentially a few drinks beforehand, because things are going to get frantically freaky, frivolous, and oh so fabulous!
Date attended: 14/02/2020
Overall rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★
After Hours Cabaret Club: LOCK IN will be at Gluttony from February 14 - March 14, 2020 as part of Adelaide Fringe. Book your tix here.