Thursday, 30 March 2017

Rogue Romantic - Cabaret Review

What: Rogue Romantic
When: 29 March - 2 April
Where: Melba Spiegeltent
Created and performed by: Anya Anastasia
Directed by: Wes Snelling
Musical Direction by: Lucien McGuiness

Anya Anastasia
Rogue Romantic is Anastasia's newest solo cabaret performance following such hits as Metawhore! and Torte E Mort. A witty and rapier sharp lyricist, talented musician, and sexy-as-hell cabaret artist her shows are funny and pointed as she is a veritable prodigy of tease.

I first came across Anastasia in Miss Everheart presents: Early Burly and at the time I commented on how bawdy and clever her acts were, teasing the mind unmercifully. This hasn't changed.

Anastasia begins the night flopped on the piano before drearily falling into a melody of unrequited love. She talks of losing her marbles and how 'they are becoming a trip hazard'. After you stop laughing at the unexpected turn of the lyric it is clear this will be a night of the delightfully unexpected housed in a package which looks disturbingly familiar.

The show officially kicks off in the next number and as the songs weave across the evening we hear the tale of a sad and lonely women (perhaps a little unhinged?) on a desperate search for love. Looking for her perfect man, she stumbles from her 'one true love for the moment' to the next with the blink of an eye and a turn of her head.

Anastasia's musical style is still as dynamic and hysterical as it ever was. I did feel that she fell into her 'shrill' mode a little too often - especially in the first half of the show - but as the story moved on her vocal chords relaxed and we got to experience the warmth and invitation of the lower tones much more. The night became very sultry indeed!

As a cabaret artist Anastasia has evolved and watching Rogue Romantic I couldn't help but feel the essence of the great doyenne of Melbourne burlesque, Moira Finucane, in the air. Don't get me wrong. Anastasia is not a bland copy of Finucane. She is a unique artist who embodies the confidence and ease in herself and her work which is a hallmark of Finucane's performances.

Swinging wildly from torch songs to calypso Anastasia moves in and out of love dragging many of the audience members on stage with her. The finale in the key of G is not to be missed!

Dressed in a sexy sequinned red dress split up to the (... groin?), with legs that never end and seem to have a life of their own, and a slightly crazed look in her eyes which in turn terrify and invite, Anastasia brings a night of fun and hilarity. This time she has a band too!

I admit this show of hers is not as original as the other work I have seen, but it is just as funny and even more full of surprises because it seems so familiar. The Melba Spiegeltent is made for this kind of intimate cabaret and Anastasia brings it to life in all its glory and potential.

4 Stars

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