Queer As! [by Sharu Delilkan]
Night of the Queer has all the elements of a typical Cabaret – music, song, dance, recitation and drama. However there is nothing typical about it.
Everyone from the emcees Lola la Bomb and Kita Mean to the acts in between make you realise that queer is the new norm and anything else is just not acceptable in this edgy, fabulously curated production.
With a rolling cast during the 5-night season who you get to see on stage is anyone’s guess – but the good thing is that with Margaret-Mary Hollins and Daniel Williams at the artistic helm they have ensured that whatever your lucky dip is it’s almost definitely gonna be a winner.
As I mentioned to my hubby on the way home from the show tonight, I felt that Night of the Queer is the first fully scintillating, all rounded cabaret production that I have really enjoyed in a ages, which well and truly had us sitting on the edge of our seats, both nervous and excited about what was coming next.
Having a live band on stage is always one of my favourite things in a live performance and this group of talented cats, led by musical director Robin Kelly, is no exception. Besides adding to the live experience with the tunes they played and providing the perfect compliment to the talent on stage, it was great to watch the way the musicians were totally enthralled by the acts when they weren’t in performance mode – it actually added almost a mirror-like dimension which is probably what they would have seen looking across the stage at us in the audience.
As our mate rightly said after the show, “I was really impressed that the opening night show seemed to go off without any visible glitches”. So Hollins, Williams and Kelly should take a bow for a well and truly perfectly formed production. Not sure what last year’s showing was like but this year you guys have well and truly cracked it!
Each and every one of the acts was suitably varied and I caught myself beaming with admiration many times during the night because of the dazzling talent on stage. Highlights were Andrew Laing aka Auckland’s George Clooney, Bryony Skillington’s (aka Lola la Bomb) singing numbers, Murdoch Keane’s spoken word, Samuel D. Christopher’s Ngaire Chambers and Jessie McCall’s contemporary dance piece performed to Heike Makatsch‘s cover of Tammy Wynette‘s Stand By Your Man. Unfortunately I felt that the Beyonce number just didn’t make the cut and needs to a little bit more polish in an otherwise blemish-free top-notch production.
Night of the Queer is a great production as a theatrical cabaret production but what makes it even more special is that performers that may not necessarily fit the traditional mould of ‘sexy and suave’ for a cabaret show are given the opportunity to display their chops and did they ever! I sincerely hope that Night of the Queer continues to be an annual feature at TAPAC, giving both established and emerging artists the outlet to be themselves and show us how well and truly fabulous they can be.
TAPAC presents Night of the Queer plays as part of Auckland Pride Festival at TAPAC until 22 Feb. Details see TAPAC