Oscar Theatre Company transforms the bunkerish Visy theatre at the Brisbane Powerhouse into a sassy, sexy cabaret club for a titillating gender-bending performance, Boy & Girl.
The cast of twenty-five talented performers spend almost two hours paying homage, in their own warped way, to some of the greats of musical theatre, a number of pop favourites, a touch of rap, and even some clever Disney numbers.
We enter the theatre and are guided to well-worn sofas that bridge the gap between the stage and the audience. The mood is set with Frances Walters crooning some smooth, jazzy greats. Things are swinging from the get-go. A live band is a feature of the show; don’t you just love this!
While listening to Walter’s wonderful tunes, punters are accosted by marauding, scantily clad young men. It is always amusing to watch people react when confronted by a lusty, half naked cowboy. Then our host, a fetching, black-booted, bosom-less, but corseted Chris Kellett, takes over and the show begins with a nod to Cabaret – ‘Wilkommen‘ these boys certainly are.
The highlight of the night was a brilliant rendition of ‘Cell Block Tango‘ from Chicago performed entirely by the boys. Whilst the boys played the gender-bending game to the hilt, I was a little disappointed that the girls weren’t as playful; an exception was Jacqui Devereux’s ballsy rendition of ‘Bring on the Men’. I had expected that the gender-bending would come from both camps. A random instance of breast flashing by a lone dancer in the opening chorus left the impression that it was an act just for the sake of it and, to be honest, it blurs the lines between the wonders of debauched cabaret and just plain stripper moves; let’s face it, breasts are not the shock tactic they used to be.
The night was so full of fabulous performances that it is hard to mention all that deserve attention. But I must comment on the wonderful voice of Ellen Reid and Conor Ensor’s interpretation of the Grease number ‘Sandra Dee’; his “lousy with virginity” line was hilarious. To top it off, the fantastic set and lighting design – by Falco Fox and Jason Glenwright respectively – effectively turned the void of the Visy into a lush, multi-dimensional house of cabaret.
Oscar Theatre Company is a surprisingly talented group of young performers and Boy & Girl is a fun way to spend an evening with a bunch of cabaret queers. But, be warned, the songs are invasive ear worms; I’ve been singing and dancing all week long and just can’t shake those jazz hands. Give thanks to Cabaret Queen Lady Gaga that this group were ‘Born this Way’.
Boy & Girl will be playing in the Visy Theatre at the Brisbane Powerhouse until 19th April.