My early career was in teaching, writing, producing and directing for theatre, comedy and impro shows. Now I'm a professional creative person. Mostly high-end branding, strategy, writing, editing and digital content creation.
It's West End on a perfect autumnal evening. You're waiting in a car park that also serves as the scene for Boundary Street markets, but tonight Jadda's hip vegan food stall alongside Wurst-Meister Famous German Sausages (sworn gastronomic enemies I assume) are quiet. Instead we wait to see the Anywhere Theatre Festival show, already tried and tested on the national festival circuit, Who is Dani Cabs?
Dani Cabs is a video and performance artist. You know you're in for something with a modern art twist tonight. It's probably going to be loose, a little surreal, deeply personal but still funny. It will most likely have some kind of message or theme.
You enter The Soapbox, an open air section with an amazing tiger mural and a tree strung with twinkling lights. Dani Cabs is already on the stage. He's shrouded in a kaleidoscopic Peruvian style blanket, he reveals a moustachioed grin and wild, mad eyes that turn to cheeky, then friendly. He wanders into the assembling audience, dragging nervous people from seats at the back to fill those at the front.
He doesn't want to be separate from the audience. He wants to draw us in. He wants to befriend us and tell his story. Within a few short minutes Dani is best friends with around thirty people that he's managed to train to speak certain words at his command. It's not a cult. It's art.
Dani says in Uruguay they Love Football and Mate (Tea)
Dani Cabs tells us stories of friendship, dreams and hope. He's funny, sensitive, and passionate. We learn a little about his parents' native home of Uruguay, how he got his name, his best mates growing up and of his journey through many and varied careers. It's not a familiar narrative that's easy to predict. Dani Cabs keeps you on your toes. There are moments of pure absurdist abandon. There are some fabulous costume changes. While there's the occasional serious instant, it's mostly all fun and laughs, dynamism and audience interaction.
As you leave, your plus one says, "That was fun, but I don't think it would be everyone's cup of tea".
She has a point. If you like to be able to rationalise and understand every second of every show you see, you won't like Who is Dani Cabs? That's okay. I liked Dani's story and there's definitely an audience for this show. This is a show creative types would appreciate. Fans of nonsensical comedy, energy, and modern art will enjoy it. If you're a guy who has a pretty rad bushranger beard and you like to wear checked shirts, this show is for you… I assume… from the number of guys with pretty rad bushranger beards and checked shirts in the audience tonight.
Dani has one more show to perform at 7pm on 21st of May. So if this show sounds like it is your cup of tea, book now!