Walking into their first show on Tuesday night at the Adelaide Town Hall, the audience was welcomed by a woman (played by Marika Marosszeky) dressed in a simple black dress with a glass of wine in her hand (after having clearly devoured a few beforehand), as she set the scene to replicate one of a wake. She looked like she was in pain, whilst simultaneously radiating with a hopeful and pleased outlook upon seeing the turnout for the funeral of her husband Wolfgang (played by Michael Whittred). As we later learned, instead of a traditional funeral where we may find a body in a casket or a photo in memoriam, Wolfgang was seated in the background, playing his electric guitar to our heart's delight.
Once we are all seated, Marosszeky began the service by giving us a heart-wrenching yet cheeky rundown of the progression (and befalling) of the relationship between the Wolfgangs. Initially, I was a bit unsure of how a show that was based around a funeral service was going to be able to encompass elements of cabaret into it. However, as I (very quickly) learned, the art of combining theatre and cabaret in what may seem as a depressing scenario turned into a celebration of life - even if it wasn't of the deceased! The pacing of the show felt just right, as we were treated to a mix of a dark-themed narrative that was sprinkled with pockets of hilarious moments and personal experiences that offered a great snapshot (and background) to the song following the narrative.
I cannot begin to explain to you how extraordinary Marosszeky's voice was - it is one that deserves to be heard and one that leaves a powerful impression on you long after the show is over. While the show mainly consisted of Marosszeky leading the show, her partner-in-crime Whittred provided the perfect essence to accompany the singing with his insane skills on the electric guitar, the tunes from which matched and set the mood effortlessly. The songstress's tasteful performances left us in the audience with tingles, wherein we couldn't help but feel like we were being seduced by Marosszeky's dancing and singing, all while being dressed in drop-dead gorgeous lace lingerie set (complete with kitty ears!) that is revealed slowly but surely through the magic of an elegant striptease. Accompanied by her trusted ghost husband demonstrating insanely talented skills on his electric guitar, the audience members were whisked away to a world where Marosszeky's inner soul that she described as being trapped in a cage for the longest time was finally unleashed, as is evident from the final act of the show.
Overall, I felt thoroughly engaged throughout the storyline. There was a strong connection to the characters that allowed us in the audience to relate to their relationship seamlessly. Yes, it may have been far from perfect (as most relationships can be), but the Wolfgangs had the quirks to make theirs seem strangely unique yet one to appreciate, given the (many) speed bumps they encountered right up to Wolfgang's untimely death from a heart attack. For those who despise audience participation - you're in luck! There was no (in)voluntary participation involved in this show, however, there was a tiny bit of audience interaction, the show was mostly run as a monologue, with Marosszeky primarily using the audience as props to verbalize her frustrations (not in a mean sense, but more in a rhetorical sense, where questions with no expectations of responses were fired our way).
The only thing that left me with a touch of wonder was why the show was called The Wives of Wolfgang, when it was just the one "wife" on stage? Perhaps it was a nod to the different roles played by Marosszeky, wherein we are introduced to different facets, such as a kitty, a widow, a mistress, and how they worked well (or not) with Whittred. Nonetheless, by incorporating a versatile style of Marosszeky's acting, singing, and dancing abilities with the animated facial expressions, eclectic composing skills, and ridiculously joyful chemistry demonstrated by Whittred, we were given a solid show that brought everyone together in a time of 'grieving' to instead enjoy the life that they both led and shared, through the art of dance, performing arts, theatre, and sultry cabaret.
Date attended: 18/02/2020 Overall rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★1/2
The Wives of Wolfgang will be performing at the Adelaide Town Hall till February 26, 2020, as part of Adelaide Fringe. Book your tix here.