Thursday 12 July 2018

Reuben Kaye - Cabaret Review

What: Reuben Kaye
When: 7 - 15 July 2018
Where: The loft, Chapel off Chapel
Created and performed by: Reuben Kaye

Reuben Kaye
Reuben Kaye has come back to Melbourne for the Provocare Festival in Prahran and seeing his show at Chapel off Chapel is to experience a beaming light of wonder and genius wrapped up in sequins and rhinestones. Kaye is here to entertain and just like his historical namesake, Danny Kaye, he will leave you in awe and stitches of hilarity, albeit with a very 21st century point of view.

To watch Kaye do cabaret is to watch a true master of the craft although you may be so swept up with the pace, humour and depth ('is that how you pronounce it?') which will beguile you beyond belief in the actual moment you may not realise everything you were given until later. Insisting on being the 'placenta of attention', Kaye plays with the audience in an experience not unlike a bondage session and, yes, he is the whip.

A Balwyn boy, Kaye tells the perhaps typical school boy tragedy of growing up gay but nobody celebrates those experiences in quite the way Kaye does.  His erotic tale of locker room romance makes 50 Shades of Grey pale into insignificance - or would if there was anything significant about that book (or movie) in the first place...

Kaye's schtick is not a smarmy, low brow, gender fluid, cliche. Not in any respect. Covering literature (the Bronte sisters), fine arts (Caravaggio, Bernini), opera and ballet, Kaye stamps his mark as a complex and not to be ignored cultured artist. His brow can be as high or low as anyone's and he moves it every which way but loose.

Whilst touching on the music of Celine Dion, Kate Bush, and others, he points out that it's not plagiarism - it is parody, parody is satire, satire is art, art is subjective so you can't judge! Whilst he mocks however, you can see that Kaye is trained, talented and has honed his skills beyond any level of criticism as well as having razor sharp insight and creating a work which is infinitely layered - which he will explain endlessly as the performance progresses.

Kaye lives in the 21st century and is not a creature of the past, so whilst he embodies the true art of cabaret with socio-political layers underlying the hilarity and indulgence, he also understands the world we are living in now. Kaye invites you to take as many photos as you like and share them on social media because that is how the world works today, not last century. Beware the use of flash though, as Jo unfortunately found out at the top of the show on the night I went.

There is no fourth wall for Kaye. Comparing the Loft to a coffin with exit signs, he seeks to share every inch of his very special crypt with as many of the audience as he can touch (literally) and bring the black tomb to life with a party bigger than any room can handle and we are right there with him every step of the way.

Remember to take your drinks in with you and prepare for the midwinter blues to turn mardis gras as you are swept away with one of the best shows you will see this year. Provocare Festival always brings the best to Melbourne and Kaye is everything cabaret has ever promised it could be.

5 Stars

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