If there's one show that reels me towards it like a moth to a flame (reviews from 2019 and 2020), it's the After Hours Cabaret Club: LOCK IN edition. It's been three consecutive years since unfailingly attending this variety show and every single time, I have walked out with a desire to cease the magical moments of the Adelaide Fringe in the best manner possible.
Held in a glorious (not to mention COVID-safe) open-air theatre space that offers audiences with the opportunity to admire the show from every angle possible, After Hours Cabaret Club: LOCK IN unleashes its debauchery with an exquisite team of performers from various Fringe shows, all of whom attract a sea of well-deserved gasps, cheers, hooting, and applause.
Kicking off the show, we are graced by the presence of veteran MC Tash York, who appears on stage in a sparkle-studded look from head to toe. In addition to nailing her presentation skills, Tash serenades the audience whilst being supported by her four-person jazz band (Arthur on the drums, Harrison on the trumpet, Dylan on bass, and Matt on the keys). Tash's voice is as powerful as her personality and complements her sharp wit that leaves the audience in stitches. As she introduces each performer, her love and respect for each act shines strongly enough to inspire us to revel in what awaits us next.
Strutting onto the stage first is Bettie Bombshell, who is the reigning Miss Burlesque Australia and also the producer of After Hours Cabaret Club: LOCK IN. Adorning herself in a batty costume that slowly but surely comes off in sensual form, Bettie captivates her audiences with a playful yet fiery demeanour that will tingle your senses and put you in a mood for all things naughty and forbidden.
Next up, we are treated to the royal duo Jon Snow and Khaleesi, who are brilliantly represented by two-thirds of the Head First Acrobats trio that is ELIXIR. Demonstrating an incredible level of flexibility and agility, this stunning piece of circus and physical theatre eloquently articulates the defying strength and capability of the human body in ways that aren't commonly expressed before.
Emerging from the shadows like a goddess in its most authentic form, we see Kween Kong (Reigning Drag Nation Australia Winner), who has dressed the part in extravagant attire and makes our jaws drop with her flips and struts - all in deathly stilettos that you do not want to slip up in.
We are then entranced in the charismatic energy and aura of Miss Curvella's presence, who makes sparks fly left, right, and centre. Dressed in a latex suit and fishnet stockings that are carefully peeled off with elegance, the finishing touch of this ensemble will astound you in an erotically-charged way.
Luke Hubbard aka Nastia Looking is a crowd favourite, who has made appearances across a range of Adelaide Fringe shows and venues (Marys Poppin, anyone?) and is a pivotal cast member of another Fringe favourite - BRIEFS. With a gorgeous high pony mane to accompany his hand-balancing skills, Nastia Looking transforms into a Victoria Secret model and treats the stage like a runway that was designed just for this piece. This is an act that will elevate the energy levels of the show by multitudes.
Saving the best for last, we are treated to a hilarious yet memorable encore by Wes Snelling aka Tina del Twist, who is a literal nightingale with a big, big love for wine. Initially appearing on stage as someone who may have had a bit too much to drink, Tina shocks and surprises the audience with a phenomenal voice and a clever wit to tickle your funny bone. Velvet-draped and with a fishbowl drink in hand(s), there couldn't have been anyone better to end an exceptional hour of back-to-back performances.
A sensual cocktail of acts that combines everything from comedy and circus to burlesque and cabaret (plus a garnish of cheeky surprises along the way), After Hours Cabaret Club: LOCK IN promises to deliver to their audiences a performance that will tantalize, titillate, and throw you miles out of your comfort zone in the most mesmerizing way possible. Whether you're a seasoned visitor of the After Hours Cabaret Club: LOCK IN party or are walking in a Fringe virgin, prepare to be delighted by a delectable team of misfits who will make you question and appreciate everything that is quintessentially Fringe-y.
Overall rating: ★★★★★
After Hours Cabaret Club - LOCK IN will be performing at the Hillside Theatre in Gluttony as part of Adelaide Fringe till March 21, 2021. Tix can be purchased here.