Tuesday 19 February 2019

Creatures of the Deep - Cabaret Review

What: Creatures of the Deep
When: 18 - 23 February 2019
Where: Upstairs, The Butterfly Club
Composed by: Ryan Smith, Sean Sully, and Sarah Wall
Performed by: Jake Edgar, Cat Sanzaro, Ryan Smith, Sean Sully and Sarah Wall
Jake Edgar, Cat Sanzaro, Ryan Smith and Sarah Wall
With the Green Room Award nominations having come out to day there seems to be little left for me to say except that Creatures of the Deep is sensational fun and intelligent and you would be silly to miss it. Winner of the Best Cabaret award in last year's Melbourne Fringe Festival, Creatures of the Deep is having a return season this week at The Butterfly Club as part of the Sustainable Living Festival and it will be hard for you to find a cleverer and funnier night out this week.

Picked For Last Sport has created a marvelous cabaret documentary about the curious wildlife we find under the ocean and around the Great Barrier Reef. A group of unpaid interns (Edgar, Sanzaro, Sully and Wall) join Fat Jacques Cousteau (Smith) down into our briny depths to teach us about our swimming neighbours.

The first thing you need to know is the entire cast are excellent theatre makers and bloody good singers, so along this journey you will not experience the usual cabaret standard of pitchiness. What you will hear is clever (and funny) lyrics, sung by singers who can not only sing melody but can harmonise the shit out of each other! Sanzaro stands out as a vocalist with big things going to happen in her life, but everyone in this ensemble works together and listens to each other.

Oh, and there is not a microphone in sight! I can't tell you how exciting it is to sit in the room and just hear the voices working in the room. Wall and Edgar do need to work on developing some power but I am very pleased they focussed on pitch instead, believe me.

Creatures of the Deep begins with a good old rolling sea shanty as Cousteau launches us on our voyage into the marine life off our coast. After meeting the lonely carnivorous pink jellyfish (Wall) who found her friends very tasty indeed, the crew get together and sing the ballad 'Coral City', ending with the sad fact two thirds of our northern Great Barrier Reef is now dead, bleached coral.  A pregnant male seahorse (Sully) sings a torch song about parenthood, before a school of sharks come and serenade us with an amazing barbershop quartet celebrating how happy life is when you can only go forwards (because if they go backwards they will die...).

I always get excited when I see theatre makers who focus on what is really important to the show and getting them really right. For this troupe it is the singing and a few puppets. I have already mentioned the pink jellyfish, but maybe the scene stealer of the show is the blowfish (although Edgar's pufferfish is pretty darn sexy too!). Smith leads us in a sorrowful dirge about how the poor little (big) blow fish is excluded because he is so ugly and out of proportion when he puffs up. I literally could not stop myself from continually saying 'awww' he was so sweet and pathetic...

The crew go deeper into the ocean and deeper into ideas as they explore the luminescent fish...and then the megatons of plastics littering the ocean. The statistics on the size and scale of the problem are absolutely mind blowing!

Creatures of the Deep has been nominated for Best Ensemble and Best Original Songs in the cabaret discipline of the 2019 Green Room Awards. How often do you get to see what all the fuss is about when you hear a show has been nominated? It is pretty darn rare so get on down to The Butterfly Club and prepare for an hour of fun and belly aching laughter amidst a few cold hard facts about our lifestyle!

5 Stars

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