Jason Coleman strips down and joins his chorus line.
If you’re ready for a road trip down to the Rosebud foreshore, you’ll head through Jason Coleman’s hometown, to a gilded, bright tent by the sea – the Cabaret Cathedral has returned to the Mornington Peninsula.
A slick and sexy dance spectacular, the show features key moments from Coleman’s life, from a public gaffe on So You Think You Can Dance, to his journey with religion and his leaving a small town for the big city.
The show is a little bit sexist and a little bit poor form, with some off colour jokes about religion, but equally as flamboyant and fun to watch. Coleman and Mike Snell wander back through Coleman’s history, as well as presenting some of Coleman’s favourite numbers from shows he has been involved with. Snell provides the comic relief alongside stunning feature vocalist Jayme-Lee Hanekom, who we most recently saw gracing the stages of Chapel Off Chapel in The Colour Purple. It’s phenomenal to know she is a true triple threat, showing off her dance moves alongside an ensemble of 17 internationally renowned performers. A knock out tap dance number and a number of aerial performances by Cirque du Soleil alumnus Rachel Kmetko are just some of the highlights that hit the stage.
The costumes are exactly what you would expect: fabulous, sparkly and showing off the assets of the gorgeous dancers. It’s a little disappointing, however, that it’s 2016, and we are still stripping women bare on stage. Just let a woman wear a bra while dancing such high intensity numbers. In a show like this, sex sells and the gorgeous young women and attractive young men kick higher, shake it lower and reach physical new heights through aerial performances: but it is not enough. A number in the aerial silks, which oozes sex already, is cheapened by the removal of Kmetko’s top during the number. It’s not to say she’s not beautiful, and her performance is not outstanding, but no further value is added by her near nakedness – her dance and the chemistry with her partner spell all of that out for the audience.
The set and venue are a sight to behold: a modern cabaret venue that has just appeared on the Rosebud foreshore. It has been built with repurposed shipping containers, creating a four level theatre space that allows the performers to delight from all angles and levels. We cannot imagine how the performers are able to run up and down between the four levels of the stage with such speed and grace, but the mystery and the awe instilled into the audience from performers appearing high above the audience in in the shipping container windows is just a treat.
The show takes classic songs from musicals and mixes them up, as well as mixing in current pop culture hits. From Chicago and Phantom of the Opera, to Neil Patrick Harris’ Tony’s opening numbers, Prince and Meaghan Trainor. It’s bright and fun, taking well known classics and adding the character of Coleman’s career to them.
It’s a pity that, for a professional show, the sound mixing on opening night was so poor, with vocalists competing to be heard over the music most of the time, particularly in the first act. The mix of live vocals, pre recorded vocals and music unfortunately become a little unintelligible, so we lost the jokes and humour delivered, which, from what we could strain to hear, was very clever, and disappointing to miss. However, this is something that can easily be fixed.
The Rhythm of Life, along with The Humanimals, Jason’s all-human animal show for the entire family, will be performing at the Cabaret Cathedral in Rosebud until January 28, 2017.