Review: Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s Backstage Club was the perfect way to taste the festival’s many shows

There are traditional cabaret MC’s and then there is Reuben Kaye. With an outrageous dress style, enough glitter to drown a Pride Mach and dark eyelashes that make him look like Jeannie Little has had a stroke, Reuben has gone to way too much effort to not let everyone have a good time.

He prances, poses, goads, enthralls and interacts; the unfortunate woman taking a flash photo won’t do that again. The fourth wall is well and truly broken, and the heterosexual males in the room are in a minority and are nervous.

The songs have drama, lengthy pauses in all the right places and are chintzy and classy just like you’d expect. Reuben clearly enjoys his time on the stage and for those that couldn’t snap up tickets to his sold out show, this is the next bet thing.

Eva Rundle is the first guest act of the night and is impressive with a haunting voice and an acoustic guitar. Eva has beautiful stage presence. Bat for Lashes’ “Laura” was breathtaking. She was joined by members of the Class of Cabaret, Alex de Porteous, Claire Morphett and Jerome Javier who performed a Capella. They all have a talent that is obvious and will only mature with experience.

There are more costume changes with Reuben than you can shake a stick at, each one more outrageous than the other. My favorite accessory was the longhaired microphone.

Catherine Alcorn was nominated for Best Cabaret Show at the 2016 Sydney Theatre Awards and was played a stunning set with her three-piece backing band. Heavily pregnant, but rocking hard and bending tunes into arrangements that were innovative and clever, she was a tour de force on stage. Special mention to the guitar skills of Glenn Moorhouse who wrung sounds from his instrument that had to heard to be believed.

After the intermission and more frivolity from Reuben Kaye, Le Gateau Chocolat was a surprise guest. With a full beard, curly blonde locks, tight green sequinned leotard and the voice of an angel, this Nigerean cabaret legend gave an incredible performance. Cabaret director, Ali McGregor joined him for a duet. Luckily she had the words scribbled on the palm of her hand. Pure cabaret at it’s finest. At the end of his performance, Le Gateau was presented with a chocolate cupcake for his birthday.

The Backstage Club is a perfect way to experience a taste of several festival shows, giving the audience a good idea of what to book for next time. A great fun night out with a good selection of acts.

For more on the Backstage Club, head to the official Adelaide Cabaret Festival website. The festival ended on Saturday 24th June.

The reviewer attended the Backstage Club on Friday 23rd June.