Most of the people who know me, know how scathing I can be of these cabaret slash Burlesque type shows. I have seen many, and have been known to suggest that this sort of show is for untalented wannabe’s. Some people would argue vehemently that those ideas are extremely unfair and totally wrong and after attending The After Hours Cabaret Club, I happily stand corrected. This show is jam packed full of fun, entertainment, and as promised by our MC of the night Tash York, enough WTF moments to have you wanting more… or in one or two cases, have you squirming in your seat.

Hearing the fantastic five-piece band playing as you enter the Melba Spiegeltent in Collingwood and being greeted at the door by one of the performers, Bettie Bombshell, sets the mood beautifully. The Harley Quinn-esque clown on stage performed her sad sack juggling routine beautifully and provided a memorable act, as the audience piled in. She keeps her routine going for an entire half hour before the show starts with various weird and wacky things including testing audience member’s hats, throwing balls to various people, and as this reviewer found out, giving massages (I prefer mine a bit firmer though next time).

The show starts with York singing, backed by the band, and continues singing a second number to the first performance by Bettie Bombshell. It was a nice start and certainly a good way to warm the audience up to the sights we would soon witness. In this sort of show, the idea that things could go wrong at any moment adds to the excitement and the nervousness in the room, especially when you have aerialists and sword swallowers in the show. Thankfully, the only things that went wrong were an audience member getting sprayed by wine when one of Loki Wheels Richus’ hoops flew onto their table, and Imogen Kelly losing one of her stickies during her second routine, both provided some extra laughs for the audience.

Elle Diablo’s routine that involved the sword swallowing was highly entertaining although I’m not sure I’d want to come in contact with her after I saw what she can do with a cucumber. Tease-Rex was certainly one of the most bizarre performances of the night. I’m not sure who came up with the idea to put tassels on a giant blow-up T-Rex but it was strangely brilliant. Liberte Le Femme was stunning in her performance and despite waiting for the painting to be rotated and there to be a picture, it was still satisfying that it didn’t really become anything. Imogen Kelly’s first routine was a very long joke but the punchline was worth it. I certainly enjoyed her first routine, but her second one didn’t quite hit the mark for me. The beauty of these types of shows though is that if there is one performance you don’t love; it won’t be long until the next comes along.

Andrew Edwards was incredible with his aerial act and the music choice was spot on. I could watch that routine again and again. Raven on the other hand, produced the biggest WTF moment of the night. While it is true that I will never look at a Coles chook the same way again, this routine needs to be seen to be believed. It got to a point where it was so disturbing that I resorted to watching other audience members faces which provided plenty of entertainment. The best way to describe the feeling left when Raven left the stage was a bit like catching your parents in the act, you saw it, you were grossed out, you never want to see it again, and the smell lingers with you for many hours after. I have a feeling the Raven may be proud of that description.

The absolute stand out for me was Bella Louche, with a piss funny Scottish routine. Starting her routine to Pure Morning by Placebo she stops the music and starts abusing a male audience member for stalking her after their break-up in a thick Scottish accent. While this had me laughing loudly, it was the transition into 500 Miles by The Proclaimers that had me doubled over with laughter. A performance worth the admission price alone.

Overall, this is a show well worth braving the cold for and surprisingly professional and slick considering the company have been going less than a year. You will laugh until it hurts, be wowed by some incredible moments, see things that you have never seen before and see things that you never want to see again. I rated this a four but the ‘random burlesque virgin audience guy’ rated it a six, so I guess you can average it out and realise it is one to put on your ‘to see’ list which is exactly where The After Hours Cabaret Club will be on mine.