***STARS

By Ash Cottrell

Saturday nights are meant for cocktails and cabaret. I sorted the former, Ali McGregor and her Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night (mouthful of a show title), delivered on the latter.

In addition to cocktails, another proclivity of mine is venturing to Melbourne’s spectacular Arts vicinity during festival time, to see a show at the historic, Spiegeltent. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival traditionally has an impressive slew of performers, both domestic and international and the city always feels that little bit more alive. I suppose too, Melbournians are feeling particularly grateful this year to be released yet again, into the wild. For the past fourteen years, or thereabouts, Ali McGregor has been hosting this variety night, bringing together an eclectic array of performers. Essentially, you get a taste of ones-to-watch from the exhaustive line-up that is the MICF, as well some performers exclusive to her event. And that was certainly the case here, with jazz, stand-up, burlesque, cabaret and some good old-fashioned crooning. Kudos should be given to the jazz trio, led by Sam Keevers, a mainstay on the stage throughout.

Out of this line-up, McGregor saved the best to last, with Eddie Perfect, who performed some light-hearted, expertly executed songs that were a perfect fit for the Melbourne audience. He transported me back to my days riding the Frankston line, counting the relentless stops that follow the city loop. McGregor performed a pretty impressive feat herself, with a classic nineties rap compilation, incorporating female-only hits that paid homage to an era very close to my own heart. It’s fair to say, it was a crowd pleaser.

McGregor’s variety night was good, it wasn’t great. There was a lack-lustre vibe which took me by surprise and while the singing from all of the acts was truly spectacular, I wasn’t invigorated by the energy, like you usually are from a live show. There’s not too much more to comment on here. If you had good seats (the Spiegeltent is a bit of a free-for-all and I wound up behind an obtrusive pole), this show could be just what you’re looking for to accompany you on a night out in this glorious city of ours.

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