Theatre Review: Club Swizzle

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Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre and La Soirée
Reviewed 16 December 2017

Hiding underneath the construction rubble of the Adelaide Festival Centre, Club Swizzle is making itself quite at home this holiday season. With dim red mood lighting, bartenders in suspenders, and big-band music playing, the entire theatre hums with speakeasy nostalgia. The Club Swizzle stage faces a polished wooden bar at the centre of the room. Audience members sit surround the bar, and are encouraged to indulge in a drink before the show begins.

As Mikey and The Nightcaps begin to play on the electric accordion, violin, guitar and trombones, the bar is transformed into a stage complete with stripper pole at one end. The master of ceremonies, Reuben Kaye, makes a dramatic entrance as he is carried on the shoulders of The Swizzle Boys, four talented acrobats dressed as bartenders. Kaye waves gleefully at the crowd as he passes. His glittering make-up and costume perfectly compliment his saucy and unapologetic sense of humour.

Kaye opens the festivities with I Was Made for Lovin’ You and Sharp Dressed Man. He quickly wins the audience over – men, women, and all those in-between. Next the Swizzle Boys mix Kaye a cocktail whilst performing astounding acrobatics on the bar, shaking the martini with a series of air flips.

Cabaret and burlesque performer Laurie Hagen wanders onto the stage in a drunken haze, dressed in a bejewelled flapper dress. She uses nudity for comic effect as she nearly falls off-stage attempting a striptease. This routine garners great approval from the audience, though her reverse striptease after interval is even more impressive.

These feats are followed by an accomplished ring acrobatics act, a comedian who performs a surprising trick with rubber bands, and an amateur pole-dancing competition overseen by Kaye himself. Hagen joins him for a final duet of One for My Baby.

Club Swizzle aims to reject none, astound all, and shock some. It is an irresistibly devious evening.

Reviewed by Nicola Woolford

Rating (out of 5): 5

Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: 12 Dec – 31 Dec 2017
Duration: 3 Hours
Tickets: $69.90 – $99.90
Bookings: adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au

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