There is a deafening buzz of excitement as you enter the venue for the opening night of Club Swizzle, the latest offering from the creators of La Soirée.
The venue is cavernous, it is in fact the old fish mongers warehouse on Roe Street Northbridge. The transformation though is exciting. Everything is 20/30’s in feel. Think prohibition, speak-easy; Berlin cabaret and early Moulin Rouge – it all feels a little unscrupulous, decadent and well, naughty!
A long heavy wooden bar which cleverly doubles as the stage, tracks down the centre of the space, flanked on 3 sides with racked seating, and for those willing to splash a bit of extra cash, cabaret tables on the floor, very close up to the action.
And action there is a plenty! Audience jostling for the centre stage bar. Waiters scurrying delivering drinks even on roller-skates. Performers mingling and flirting with the audience. This reviewer even scored a cheeky peck on the cheek from our MC Reuben Kaye.
Heralding the start we are treated to the wonderful skills of the Club Swizzle band – The Unexpected Perks. Featuring Svetlana Bunic, Jim Dunlop, Wayne Freer, Suzanne Simpson with musical direction by Mikey Lira, this band accompany all the acts and interludes with creative and often frenetic tunes. A true highlight of the evening.
Described as “the evil love child of Liza Minelli and Jim Carey” our MC Reuben Kaye hits the stage. Kaye is bright, bold, brassy and bloody funny! He is an entertainer with vocals of powerhouse proportion and an exceptional quick wit. Innuendos flow aplenty and no-one is safe from his piercing gaze. If you get one you know something is coming your way. The audience is firmly in his grasp, awaiting another hilarious clanger to come forth. The audience participation pole dancing competition is hilariously memorable. Kaye is the perfect MC for a show of decadence and delights.
Over the next 2 hours we are treated to some wonderful moments of sassy entertainment. Burlesque superstar Laurie Hagen is sensational. Her drunken striptease is an absolute hoot but it is her remarkably difficult and emotionally dark reverse-motion striptease in Act 2 that is captivating and a pin drop moment.
Easy on the eye acrobatic Swizzle Boys, Ben Lewis, Joren Dawson, Simon McClure and Will ‘Silver’ Underwood are an obvious audience favourite. Although taking a while to get into full swing with a few fumbles, they are undoubtedly extremely skilful. The work they put in throughout this 2 hour show is quite remarkable. The finale acrobatic sequences are a highlight.
There is no doubting the talent and amazing skill of all the artists, but the show itself although full of energy, is a little inconsistent. Cuban cigar smoking Aerial Hoop artist Yammel Rodriguez sizzles, but is perhaps a little too aloof. I felt somewhat disconnected. Amy G’s rollerskating waitress shows off flexibility and skill but her ‘unique’ kazoo playing act falls flat and tap dancer Dandy Washington although a wonderful voice, felt out of place.
Despite these few creative stumbles and unfortunate moments of poor sound, Club Swizzle is still a highly entertaining night out. It’s a night to relax with a group of friends, share a few drinks, have a load of laughs and immerse yourself into the artistry of Club Swizzle.
100 Roe Street Northbridge
Reuben has also announced his one man show for Thursday 22nd Feb @ 10pm with the Club Swizzle band ‘Unexpected Perks’ also at the Ice Cream Factory. Sure to be another hilarious evening. Tickets
Picture Credits: Jeffrey Feng