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The Bedlam Cabaret - Mardi Gras Edition

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by Emma Jane Explores (Emma Caldwell) (subscribe)
I'm a freelance actor, travel writer, photographer, foodie and attention seeker living in the lower North Shore. Check out my blog at for more.
A special Mardi Gras edition
In the full spirit of Mardi Gras, a special edition Bedlam Cabaret took over the Red Rattler in Marrickville this week. A dynamic and fun variety show, presented by the Company of Rogues, the Bedlam Cabaret showcases an assortment of talent from comedy to burlesque, performance art to music with a smattering of the downright bizarre. There's no production photos in this review either because there is a fair bit of nudity!

bedlam cabaret, red rattler, theatre, cabaret, variety, burlesque
Andy Dexterity

Our host for the evening is the delightful James 'Breko' Brechney, for whom this year's Mardi Gras is particularly special - he's getting married on a float in the parade on Saturday. James is a fantastic Emcee, greeting guests personally and wandering through the audience to interact with punters in a more intimate setting. His collection of fabulously decorated jackets is a feature of the show in itself!

bedlam cabaret, red rattler, theatre, cabaret, variety, burlesque
James Brechney

The cabaret kicks off quite late, with the 7pm doors time dragging past the scheduled slot, which then forces the rest of the show to run late. Once the performances start, though, it is all forgiven with an engaging and entertaining first act that offers plenty of wide-eyed, jaw-dropping moments. Opening the show is the eye-wateringly talented Ben Noir, who performs an unbelievable opera number hitting all the right soprano notes. He's so good, it's hard to believe that these sounds are coming from this muscular man - but they absolutely are. Ben Noir also makes another stellar appearance in the second act with a burlesque towel dance that had everyone on the edge of their seats.

Curly Fries performs in nothing but a yellow raincoat and arguably has the most bizarre act of the night - he gargles the national anthem and then in true Mardi Gras spirit gargles along to Cher. Kael Murray demonstrates absolute artistry in her burlesque routine that has her transform from reserved and beautiful lady of yesteryear in a powdered wig, to powerhouse helmeted soldier who packs every punch imaginable. Her dance ability and power on stage is unquestionable.

bedlam cabaret, red rattler, theatre, cabaret, variety, burlesque
Kael Murray

Marlena Dali delivers one of the most hilarious and oh-my-gosh acts of the show with a hilarious routine performed with tiny hands followed up with the swallowing of an entire balloon that we never see again. I'm still worrying about where that balloon has ended up!

Debbie Zuckerman is a-dork-ably fantastic as Raz who teaches us all some amazing science and we take equal delight in wanting her experiments to succeed, but also in enjoying how they seem to go hilariously wrong. Vashti Hughes is utterly hilarious as the wide-hipped, slightly off-kilter voice teacher who schools the entire audience on using their diaphragm (full of innuendo, of course).

bedlam cabaret, red rattler, theatre, cabaret, variety, burlesque
Debbie Zuckerman

Prince Enigma is a gorgeous sight onstage, but his singing falls short of being amazing and his pole routine doesn't wow the way that I think the audience had expected. He's still a heap of fun though. Poppy Cox as Serge Gainsbourg elicits a few laughs from the audience, but doesn't quite make a mark like some of the other acts do.

bedlam cabaret, red rattler, theatre, cabaret, variety, burlesque
Ben Noir

Hands down the highlight of the Bedlam Cabaret has to be the wonderful Andy Dexterity who has us all in stitches first with his sign language mash-up of Dolly Parton's and Whitney Houston's versions of 'I Will Always Love You'. He manages to follow that up with an amazing rap that he signs along to and by the end of the song, the entire audience is singing and signing along with him. It's a really heart-warming moment, and the perfect way to close a great night out.
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*Emma Jane Explores (Emma Caldwell) was invited as a guest
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Why? A variety show celebrating Mardi Gras
When: Doors from 7pm
Where: Red Rattler Theatre
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