The Vaudevillians – Review

Originally published on The Reviews Hub


Tiger Dublin Fringe



The ever reliable Wikipedia says that Vaudeville died in the 1930s, that with the advent of cinema the art form declined and audiences’ voracious appetite for variety waned.  Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales are here to say otherwise. Frozen alive under an avalanche in the 1920s, The Vaudevillians have thawed out only to find that numerous pop artists have taken their songs and passed them off as their own. The Vaudevillians is their raucous, hilarious theatrical attempt to reclaim their songs.

Monsoon and Scales are a classic comic duo, executing slapstick humour, mischievous word-play and exuberant gags with flair and skill. Playing off their obliviousness to the happenings of the twentieth century, teasing audience members and poking fun at their experience of Ireland, they perform comic routines that confidently tread the line between hilarious and just too far.

Creating an air of sometimes grotesque glamour, Monsoon and Scales perform songs from Gloria Gaynor to 4 Non Blondes and Britney Spears, all in an inimitably energetic and extravagant vaudevillian style. Until you have heard “Toxic” in 1920s style you won’t believe it, but maybe Britney ought to learn to Charleston.

This all-singing, all-dancing duo balance music, storytelling and comedy excellently to build a production that has the audience dancing in their seats while doubled over laughing throughout.


Riot – Review

Originally published on The Reviews Hub


Tiger Dublin Fringe



Imagine you have landed inside the whirring, vivacious minds of some of the best and brightest artists and activists in the city. Now imagine that has been amplified and condensed into one 90 minute multidisciplinary spectacular, and then add in a few thousand volts of electricity with a generous dash of pure magic. All of that imagining has still only brought you halfway towards the artistic and political extravaganza that is Riot.

From Jean Brodie to Jesus, and circus to poetry, Riot takes uses every skill and idea imaginable to take a long hard look at our attitudes towards change, while hosting a rousing and unforgettable party. To name just a few examples;  The Lords of Strut test the limits of physical agility (and of clingfilm), Up and Over it captivate the audience with a variety of dance routines, utilising everything from skipping ropes to Dutch Gold, and Ronan Brady wows with graceful and powerful circus skills as he showers the audience with smouldering glances and Tayto. The audience is never allowed to leave the edges of their seats as the excitement and drive builds and builds.

Interspersing this variety of acts, are the indomitable Panti Bliss and Emmet Kirwan. Panti provides comedy and hard truths in equal measure while making a medical boot seem like a fashion statement. However, Kirwan is the true star of the show. Dublin’s most scintillating wordsmith delivers a charged performance that captures the thoughts of thousands into just a few metrically suberb poetic segments. The music and movement of his words matched the revolutionary energy of them; his is not poetry to talk about change, it is poetry to enact it.

Not only are the performances stunning, but McMahon’s direction, a  sharp lighting design by Mark Galione and vibrant costumes by James-David Seaver are the icing on the cake that turn excellent performances into an excellent show.

Riot does what it says on the tin; it is an hour and a half of an artistic riot. It is an energising and engaging piece of political theatre as well as an unadulterated celebration of skill, passion and possibility.

Riot runs in the Spiegeltent, Merrion Square until September 25th.


Hot Brown Honey – Review

Originally published on The Reviews Hub

Spiegeltent, Tiger Dublin Fringe



Briefs Factory’s feminist cabaret and burlesque extravaganza, Hot Brown Honey, has the audience crying with laughter, whooping, clapping and stamping their feet, but it isn’t from this that the show gets its electric energy. The Honeys are a group of women who are unashamedly angry and this is a show that makes no question of its bold intention to smash the patriarchy.

In a series of vignettes, the Honeys present the audience with well worn images and stereotypical characters before turning each and every one on its head. In one instance the audience is introduced to a “typical Samoan woman,” a romanticised idea of a woman in nothing but a leaf skirt sitting weaving herself new clothes from leaves. However, this illusion is shattered in moments as she turns and performs an impressive reverse strip-tease with a costume that seems impossibly, magically versatile. Another example is the caricaturing of characters that are defined by their physical features as Busty Beats appears wearing a costume with breasts the size of beach balls.

While most of their routines have a sizeable dash of the ridiculous and over-the-top about them  (one needs only to have seen the costumes for the “Don’t Touch Her Hair” number to know that) that does not detract from the weight of the message in each segment.  Tearing into questions of sexism, racism and homophobia, and tackling results of colonisation, the Honeys leave the audience in no doubt as to just how serious they are. This may be an audacious, entertaining and fun show, but it also leaves a sobering mark.

Through a fierce cabaret of hip-hop, song, circus and politics, Hot Brown Honey takes the audience through a whistle-stop tour of intersectional feminism and provides plenty of laughs and sass along the way. As the Honeys themselves say, “fighting the power never tasted so sweet.”

Hot Brown Honey runs until September 16th in the Spiegeltent at Merrion Square.