CABARET FRINGE – Phelan Groovy – 3.5K / Cirque Nocturne

thumb_2015-06-02_201146_Cabaret-Fringe-logoBy Peter Maddern

As with the big Fringe in February, the Cabaret Fringe jumps the main show at the Festival Centre by a week and continues throughout the month til 26th June.

If Kurt Phelan’s Phelan Groovy is anything to go by, this year’s program will be as good as any that has preceded it. The star of Dirty Dancing and good looking lad from Queensland, born he says on the rear steps of his parents’ house in Townsville, enchants with a life story from those earliest days through various events and shows, all with some amusing asides and much talk about the middle areas of his body.

His singing is strong and enthusiastic drawing on a number of well-known standards, some with his own re-worked lyrics as he dresses down from neat grey jacket and vest to what may well pass as summer pyjamas. His recounting of a Deborah Byrne mashing is a highlight and treat.

Catch one of his remaining shows tonight or tomorrow afternoon at La Boheme for a ‘Phelan’ good hour of entertainment.

Perhaps at the other end of the scale is Cirque Nocturne, a local aspiring physical theatre show at the Rob Roy Hotel til Sunday evening. Incorporating the usual staples of the genre – juggling, strong man, trapeze, hoops etc – the show lacked polish, even though it was half way through its season when this reviewer attended. Fails seemed to comfortably outnumbered the fantastic though Josh Croall and Natalie Tran thankfully lifted the standards with their respective juggling and suspended curtain gyrations late in the hour.

The problem with these physical theatre shows is that this town is (or has been) annually blessed with all best of the world at various tents in the east parklands in Mad March. Accordingly what may be considered the ‘usual’ standard of shows available is very high and unless one has some spin on the format and can deliver pretty much faultless displays, ho-hum can set in, especially at comparable ticket prices.

Hopefully, this is just the first attempt on the road to greater things in times ahead for Kate Lawrence and her team.


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