Each year the Melbourne Cabaret Festival throws fresh, interesting and daring shows at the audiences of this fine city and each year we demand to be further challenged by shows which will excite and stimulate our imaginations and maybe just shock us a little.
Last night at the Butterfly Cub I watched something inspiring and beautiful performed by someone clearly in control of their milieu. Situated at the end of Carson Place, off Little Collins street in the CBD, the approach to the Butterfly Club just imbues it with the very spirit of cabaret and climbing the stairs past the various posters, through the dimly lit bar area decorated with nik-naks and kitsch ornaments and toys of yesteryear one is reassured with the ambience of a venue comfortable in its silliness.
I had been invited along to see the first night of Dash Kruck’s new show ‘I Might Take My Shirt Off’ – as show about – well- trying to put on a cabaret show.
Dash emerges timidly from behind the curtain at the rear of the stage, approaching the microphone as though it were about to bite him and immediately apologises because he is wondering what is the best way in which one can possibly start a cabaret. This is all new to him – apparently.
This leads to his first number, which is - appropriately enough - about how to start a show, and showcases his prodigious performance skills, contrasting his strong and punchy singing voice with his initially timid on-stage persona.
The timing is crisp and his musical accompaniment from Matthew Nutley on piano, Darren Steele on double bass and Bryn Bowen on drums is perfectly judged, being bombastic and subtle by turns as the performance calls.
The show takes the form of a personal journey following a break-up and is supposedly the idea of an unseen German therapist whose voice is heard sternly directing dash on occasion to express himself. This means that the audience have their part to play in all of this therapy and members are selected to participate in helping Dash express himself more, meaning that nowhere is safe - you have been warned!
To keep track of his achievements, Dash has a list of things which every good cabaret show needs and crosses these off along the way, until he is both drunken and shirtless and free by the climax.
The audience were very receptive to the performance, hooting and hollering along to some of the more risqué numbers and gave a deafening applause at the close of the show which was well deserved.
This is a highly entertaining evening of song and comedy which takes its audience on a personal journey through the darkness of rejection to bathe in the warm light of acceptance and healing.
‘I Might Take My Shirt Off’ is on at The Butterfly Club, Carson Place until June 28th.