The opening night for the 2017 Club Swizzle was a jam-packed affair. This latest offering from the team behind La Clique and La Soiree, relied on that tried and true recipe of circus, burlesque, comedy, acrobatics, and song, but this time with a fair old slurp of tipsiness.
The who’s who of the Adelaide set had their chance to walk the red carpet to enter the intimate space in the aptly named Space Theatre within Adelaide’s Festival Centre, the perfect venue for the highly acclaimed show, which rightly promises to be “loose, glorious & irresistibly fun”.
Upon entering through the main foyer, and into the theatre itself, we were met with a very jovial atmosphere; plenty of smiling ushers and ‘bar staff’ warmly greeted each person and directed us to our seats. There was a stage and band at one end of the venue, where the long, fully staffed cocktail bar extended out and down the centre of the room… and this, we were told upon entering, would become the main stage, and then return to being the bar at interval. Flanking this catwalk-style stage on either side, were several rows of ring side seats, and behind those against the back walls were a number of booth style settings with tables where one could happily settle in for a pre-show meal. People we’re chatting, mingling and sipping their drinks, until the band started playing a rowdy attention catching riff that signalled the show was about to start. Within minutes the Club Swizzle boys had snapped into action, cleared and cleaned the bar, and made the necessary structural changes that indeed transformed it into a catwalk-like stage. There were chairs being thrown over our heads and across the bar, whooping and whistling… the whole process a show in itself.
The Club Swizzle MC was the talented and enigmatic, cross-dressing, gender bending, all Australian ‘Rueben K’, otherwise known as ‘Ruby’. He belted out a brilliant, bawdy rendition of “I was made for loving you” warming up the audience and leaving us with no shadow of a doubt as to what kind of show we were in for.
Ruby’s unique introduction was followed by the talented Burlesque Artist from Belgium- Laurie Hagen, who‘s first of several characters is also her funniest. She played the part of a very drunk yet ridiculously adorable stripper… and where this act goes exactly, I will leave for you to find out for yourself. Laurie makes a number of appearances throughout the evening, showcasing her many talents as a dancer and singer. A truly first-class performer.
I was quietly wondering what would possibly follow a performance like that, and was rewarded with the quirky Shay Horay all the way from across the pond in New Zealand, otherwise known as the Rubber Band Boy. His unusual claim to fame is “putting the most rubber bands around his head ever”… like, across his face, over his ears and nose, all the way around his head. His act was certainly entertaining on a whole other level! The audience were gasping and laughing, maybe some cringing and slight grossing out going on too.
The exotic aerialist Frédérique Cournoyer Lessard– also from Montreal, Canada, delivered a wonderfully elegant routine using a large hoop suspended from the ceiling. She spun, twisted, bent, lifted, and balanced herself with such visible strength and graceful control that the audience was left in absolute awe.
The amazing Club Swizzle boys – Joren Dawson and Will Underwood from Montreal, Canada and the two Aussies Ben Lewis and Simon McClure – alternate between drink-serving barmen to first rate acrobatic performers for the entire show, are the driving force of Club Swizzle and the whole evening is punctuated with routines from them. They flip, dance, hoop jump, balance, and aerial artist their way through the show, keeping the crowd constantly cheering and applauding.
All performers gave 100% the entire time they were on stage, and with sweat dripping from them in rivers, they were continuously rewarded with loud applause from the very happy punters. There were a few very funny moments when “volunteer” audience members were directly involved in the performances, predictably causing some great laughs, especially when asked to perform a variety of potentially embarrassing tasks like pole-dancing.
Club Swizzle is a seriously good night out. It’s not on as grand a scale as some on the bigger international shows of the same genre that have toured here over recent years, but it still ticks all the boxes.
Words by Kimberley Kurmis
Photos by Kelly Carpenter