morrison-2 “Part of being a Bonsoir Bitch,” Cougar Morrison tells his audience, under the arched and painted on eyebrow necessary to deliver such a line, “is being clever.”

And his show, a homecoming of sorts for this Perth-raised and internationally performing cabaret artist, is certainly that – a well scripted and cleverly assembled mixture of influences that together make a brilliant night at the cabaret.

Morrison – real name Clint Strindberg – uses a series of musical theatre classics, Top 40 hits and original pieces to keep the audience entertained through a series of vignettes about love and self-assurance in an uncertain world.

But in a move that owes a little to the world of nightclubs and drag bars, Morrison’s splicing together of these influences, often into one song, keeps the audience guessing – watching to see which thread he will pursue next.

Ably assisted by backing dancers in pants so tight they represent a hazard to circulation – be it their own or the audience’s – and a series of backing tracks, Morrison’s vocal talents are given free rein to dip and soar – putting a whole new interpretation on songs and topics sometimes subject to overkill.

Morrison allows himself to engage with the audience more easily than in his earlier Fringe World show Rawrr!, with unscripted audience interactions and witty asides bringing some of the evening’s biggest laughs – and avoiding the overdeveloped earnestness that shows dealing with this subject matter often struggle with.

A musical montage of advice to a young Clint give the show its strongest emotional point – delivered against a backdrop of twinkling lights on the wide expanses of the Downstairs at the Maj stage, while Morrison’s rendition of Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” gives a passionate kiss-off to a selfish ex-“friend” with a passionate intensity the original sorely lacked.

The same can’t be said for a high energy dance routine later in the show, where Morrison struggled to overcome both the dancers and the backing vocals, while an earlier musical montage could have benefited from a more dynamic lighting set-up befitting its dance-music backing track.

But these are opening night glitches in a show that ought to tour well beyond its three-night run in Perth – with humour, depth, a stand-out mind for music and a powerful voice, Morrison is a fine talent in top form, and Bonsoir Bitches! Is a show no fan of cabaret can afford to miss.

Show details:

Venue: Downstairs at the Maj, 825 Hay Street Perth.

Dates: Thursday 17, Friday 18 and Saturday 19 November @ 7:30pm

Tickets: $45.90 through Ticketek.

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