Thursday 20 June 2024

MEDIOCRE: Cabaret Review

WHAT: Mediocre
WHEN: 30 May - 1 June 2024
WHERE: The Motley Bauhaus

Riley Street
Some cabarets are secret little bombs of wisdom. This is what Riley Street's cabaret Mediocre, playing at The Motley Bauhaus, has turned out to be.

You already get a sense of where Mediocre is going to take you when you see 'Everything Is Fine' plastered across the keyboard, with the word fine falling off at the end. Then Street walks in with a box of goodies and the words 'No Really It Is' written across it'. Not entirely reassuring but it is enough to make you settle back in your seat waiting to hear more.

At first Mediocre plays out like a bunch of other cabarets. Street bumbles through app dating which becomes even more complicated when they realise, they are actually looking for a same sex relationship. Street goes on to describe one of the most uncomfortable dates I have heard so far. It is the kind of date which is only funny with the passage of (a lot of) time.

Street then goes on to discover they are ASD which clears a whole lot of confusion up but doesn't seem to make life easier. This is where the genius and incredible insight in Street's work shines through. After the diagnosis things should start working because now you know what is happening and can 'fix' everything, right?

What Street comes to understand is that a diagnosis does not mean there is a cure. It doesn't mean there is a magic pill which fixes you or your circumstances. You still have to live life and nothing about how life works changes just because you figure out why everything doesn't make sense to you. Street learns that managing an illness, or disease, or disorder just means you know why things are hard. Hopefully that eases some of the anxiety and you may be able to find strategies, but it doesn't make the problems go away.

Amidst all this, Street reveals themselves to be a much better than mediocre musician and singer. We cry along with them as they tell a heartbreaking tale of cruelty as the opportunity of a lifetime is unfairly stolen away with that fateful diagnosis. This straw that broke the camel's back in a long list of frustrations and fortitude. 

Hovering in the background is Street's family. As with most people in their independent years, Street's relationship with Mum and Dad is rocky and faced with challenges and misunderstandings. Dad is always there, though, with a bucket full of platitudes and Mum is there too even when Street can't always see her.

Mediocre is a cut above the average cabaret. Street comes to the stage with an open heart and an open book on their life. The honesty of the pain and confusion is balanced artfully with humour, some clever audience participation, and a pocket full of songs sung by a very talented singer. 

You probably missed this season of Mediocre because it was only on for 3 nights but hopefully it is coming back again, perhaps in a festival or just for a return season. If it does come back I highly recommend it.

4 Stars

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