Photo: Jytte Holmqvist

Give a F*ck Cabaret really does give a fuck. And about issues that really matter. A show that begins by delivering a both social and political commentary, it is dynamic and clever, stylish, glittery and fast-paced. The spectators are seated in close proximity to the stage and are easily approached by the performers who engage with the audience in different ways – speedy discourses, acrobatic performances, elegant ballet style drag shows, and odd-looking characters dressed in psychedelic outfits, masks and headpieces – leading to a show that delves into the realm of the surreal. However, the show has an important socio-political message that runs throughout it.

This highly current cabaret opens with a commentary on issues that either need urgent addressing or that define our times: climate change, the fashion police, social media and mobile phone obsession, the ordeals suffered by Aboriginal people in Australia, etc. Examples of social injustice and political discrepancies are given speedily and eloquently and the viewers become active participants when asked what they actually do give a fuck about (one woman voices her concern about how to best raise a man in a patriarchy). In the middle of the first act the performer rattles off her respect to “elders past and present” who are “the original custodians of this land”; a statement highlighting the cliché-like paradoxity of this culturally significant form of respect and address.

The entire show is imbued in sarcasm and (not always that) subtle irony yet behind it all is a clever reminder of what really matters and of where our allegiances must lie. Issues like animal rights, stifling patriarchy (now under scrutiny), and the ‘me-too’ movement are addressed, as is foreign aid and the ordeal of boat refugees in the Pacific. In the show it becomes apparent that the underdog will remain the underdog unless there is a real call for action that leads to constructive changes. The show also highlights the ironically marked contrast between hyped-up pop culture, people’s need to appear culturally sophisticated for the sake of convenience, and the media obsession with major sports events – while issues that really matter are, seemingly, pushed to the side.

True to cabaret tradition, this show features an ensemble of young and athletic performers in impossible outfits – with one of the highlights being an odd yet suave-looking creature dressed in a pink bodysuit and wearing a fish mask. This creature – big dark eyes staring blankly at us – moves smoothly and as if it were the most natural thing in the world to the sound of Edith Piaf, while puffing a cigarillo and sipping champagne through a mouth or opening that does not allow for such extravagancies.

This is a memorable cabaret, with the sound effectively underscoring the dynamic performances, and the lighting being highly effective as well – making for a show that has the audience wrapped and at times roaring with laughter. Highly recommended!

Rating: 8/10


Location: TheatreWorks – 14 Acland Street, St Kilda 3182

Dates: 18 – 27 Jan 2019

Times: Tue – Sun 9:00pm

Tickets: $27.50 - $34.50 (booking fees included)

Bookings: theatreworks.org.au or call (03) 9534 3388

TheatreWorks Website