PRANCER & VIXEN
PRANCER & VIXEN, Strange Bedfellows in the Salon at the Melbourne Recital Centre, 15-16 December 2017. Photography above - Kanen Breen and Jacqui Dark
My first Christmas cabaret for 2017! I try to avoid them where possible but when it’s Strange Bedfellows only a fool would pass up the opportunity and they didn’t let me down. Cabaret at its best: satirical, shockingly non-PC, funny and poignant.
Kanen Breen and Jacqui Dark, with more make up on than a drag show, treat us to a delectable feast of Yuletide classics from Streisand to Weill, and Daryl Wallis tickling the ivories with delicious aplomb and a naughty grin.
You know it’s a class act when you can’t tell if they really have lost their place or they are toying with you. Great craft.
Prancer and Vixen, the outcasts of Santa’s reindeers, let us in on the inside story of Rudolph, who will do anything to be top deer (a heart-warming ditty:" Rudolph the Brown-Nosed Reindeer"); and there’s the unscrupulous work practices and the not so shiny and clean Santa who does a bit of “grooming” of his deer.
Unhappy with their lot, they fly away to try and find the true meaning of Christmas, which seems to consist of songs such much-loved carols as "Santa and the Three Ho’s", "Surabaya Santa" and "Walking Around in Women’s Underwear". They touch down in a number of places including Finland ("Baby it’s Cold Outside") and Spain and New York where the ogre Trump makes them desperate for Down Under. There they land in an area of desolation and desperation: Manus Island. We go from high camp and hilarity to the most somber of moods with a heart-wrenching Turkish lullaby; you can’t help but have tears in your eyes and a heavy heart. But, they get you there and then they get you back to a belly laugh, such is their skill.
We are treated to brilliant vocals as both are bona fide opera stars, and those wonderfully written original songs with a loose thread of a narrative to support the duo's penchant for going off-script.
The show, commissioned by the Recital Centre, is in the Salon. It’s set up with small tables and a bar and it has just the right intimacy for an hour of fun, frivolity, and mayhem.
The pity is that it is only three shows – it deserves more. You can catch it today at 4pm and 7pm – weird times for a show that has the feel of a midnight cabaret.