Review: Hair to the Throne — Hayes Cabaret Season

Marney McQueen isRosa Waxoffski , beauty therapist to the stars. Along with her world-renowned pianist Boris Longschlongadongski (musical director Mark Jones), her show is a celebration of waxing, men, and saying things aloud that polite society considers taboo. It’s bawdy and broad and full of easy, terrible jokes. 

Hair to the Throne: Marney McQueen as Rosa Waxoffski
Hair to the Throne: Marney McQueen as Rosa Waxoffski

With high levels of audience participation and “unscripted” banter, there’s a vodka drinking-and-crunking competition between two audience members and plenty of audience input about, naturally, vajazzling.

There are plenty of parody takes on familiar tunes, like “YMCA” and “A Walk in the Light Green (I Was Only 19).”

McQueen’s alter-ego is one she has been working on since she was a student at NIDA and her ease within the Rosa persona is right up there; her Russian accent is stereotypical and slips and slides as she talks to her fans, but that’s no real problem. It’s the unabashed confidence of a narcissist; Rosa wears a pink eighties-style jacket with a picture of a rose on the back, encased in a heart, surrounded by rhinestones. That is the exact visual representation of how this cabaret feels.

Hair to the Throne’s unsung hero is Jones’ Boris. He’s a hype-man, a despondent joke-teller, a lovelorn follower, and when he’s given an inch he takes a mile, just about stealing the show.

There’s nothing sophisticated about this cabaret, or anything particularly new, or gripping, but it doesn’t pretend to be any of those things, either. It’s not quite harmless, though, and that’s because there is an extended gag where a picture of Rosa’s Tinder profile is projected onto a screen for all to see. She is on the shoulders of a person of colour and, as the profile is deconstructed, the man is referred to as a “monkey” not once, but four or five times. It’s shockingly insensitive (and not something anyone should be doing mistakenly, particularly after it happened so publicly to Adam Goodes just two years ago), and it’s lazy, and after that, nothing felt quite as fun anymore.

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and is the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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