The festival of arts called Provocaré began last week. Centred on, along, and around Chapel Street, this superb collection of artists and performances is the perfect debauched antidote to a despicable Melbourne winter.
Club Provocaré brings together some of these artists, including some very special guests, to wring some much welcomed Weimar heat from an empty thrust stage. A Kit Kat Klub for the post-Weinstein world, the Master of Ceremonies is Bernie Dieter and she is in splendid form throughout the night with a couple of musical numbers that certainly resonated with the women in the audience.
There are small round tables scattered close to the stage, but when Bernie first steps out, seeking help for her introductions, her prey, ah, I mean, volunteers are rows back in their seats. Having gone barefoot to find them, the men she picks treat the putting-back-on of her heels like Bernie’s tossed them a Rubix Cube, a hilarious beginning to a wonderful night’s entertainment.
No one disappoints in the line-up: Karl Kaos slinks and strips in a beautiful opening number to claim the stage (and whoever he was meeting with that riding crop) as his own; Karen From Finance keeps the crowd laughing with her brilliant physical comedy; Accompanied by Bernie’s vocals, Thom Worrell gifts the audience with a wonderful aerial routine that treats introspection as spectacle; Laurie Hagan was stunning – first with her gloriously tipsy and funny French character, then later in an extraordinary rendition of reverse burlesque.
The final act – an erotic adagio – was performed by the remarkable duo, Bray & Miss Skopalova. The titters from the audience quickly fell silent before each salacious shape in an astonishing example of physical storytelling. One of themes of their piece was surrender, and there was little doubt by the final curtain call with all the artists on stage that we had surrendered before a mesmeric evening of awe and delight.
David Williamson Theatre, 54 St John Street, Prahran
Performance: Friday 6 July 2018 – 8.15pm
Season continues to 15 July 2018
Information and Bookings: www.provocare.com.au
Image: Bernie Dieter (supplied)
Review: David Collins