SUBURBAN GOTHIC - MELBOURNE
SUBURBAN GOTHIC, Butterfly Club, Melbourne, 24-29 January 2017.
Performed by Karlis Zaid, Mark Jones and Aurora Kurth. Created by Karlis Zaid, Mark Jones, Aurora Kurth and Karin Muiznieks directed by Steven ‘Gatesy’ Gates.
Now this is what I’m talking about… An oft-used line when something is a winner is exciting and takes you to dizzy heights. Suburban Gothic does just that; an original Australian cabaret that sets out to unsettle and doesn’t apologise for its “in your face” politically incorrect black humour.
What strikes at the outset is the strength of the performers’ musical prowess: the harmonies are perfect, and why wouldn’t they be? Their collective CVs boast award-winning cabaret shows through to main stage productions throughout Australia. How brilliant for us that they come together again in Suburban Gothic. From the get-go you know you are in for an uncomfortable ride. Hilarious at times, gut wrenching at others. Applause makes way for audible gasps.
Aurora Kurth is mesmerising. She sings beautifully but more than that she is a compelling actor. Of many highlights one stand-out is the “date rape” song, (You Don't Know It Yet, But You're Coming Home With Me). Horrific in its simplicity with music more usually associated with an upbeat story adds to the unsettling lyrics. (It was directorial brilliance giving this number to a woman.)
You could say it was a show about coats. A simple and effective way for the quick character changes deftly done – it works.
It is hard to pinpoint what stood as the “best” number as they all go somewhere uncomfortable and have you laughing uproariously when perhaps you should have been more circumspect – truth often does that.
Karlis Zaid, has a talent for the absurd. He is the consummate all round performer. He knows he is pushing the boundaries and we need more of that and him in our theatres. His lyrics stay with you long after the show is over. Again, too many show-stoppers to pick from but putting the Flasher on a plinth – akin to “The thinker” with Aurora extolling the virtue and blaming those who have been flashed as the people in the wrong is hilarious. The darker Hit, Just A Bit is as ugly as it is true.
On keyboards Mark Jones is deadpan, extremely funny, sings brilliantly and adds that hint of magic to make the show complete. The less said about his rendition of the racist, gob-smacking wedding speech (Terrorist In-Law) the better the shock. You have to go to see it to believe it. It sums up the talent of the writers and the performers.
Gatesy gets the best out of his actors; he has them focused and delineates the numbers with aplomb. There are 15 original numbers all with a twist in the tail. You don’t see the other creative Karin Muiznieks on the stage but her presence is felt. This show is a must see.