Every year the city of Melbourne, for two weeks, turns into the arts hub epicentre for the upcoming emerging artists presenting their latest works within the infamous Melbourne Fringe Festival. And with such variety throughout the two week program it’s hard to decide which exact performances one must attend. Luckily though, this reviewer was able to attend TOP SPOT and the performance was out of the ball park. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s come straight from the Adelaide Fringe Festival after a sell out season.
Presented by the artistic and creative showgirl burlesque company Miss Friby, Top Spot is a one woman show but centres around two ferocious diva’s vying for ultimate stardom and to be crowned number one. The two showgirls – portrayed by the hilarious Stephanie Wood and head-to-toe talented Elizabeth Dawson-Smith – vie for the audience’s adoration through dance numbers, vocal renditions, scripted comedic sketches, audience participation, and the always fabulous art of improvisation and ad-libbing. The experienced, and clearly professionally trained, duo complemented one another on stage through true comedienne partnership as they effortlessly bounced off one another creating the ultimate hysterical environment for the audience who automatically warmed up and were putty in the hands of these two performers through the two acts.
Stand out performances throughout the two act show included comedic dance numbers to Chicago’s “Nowadays”, and Sia’s “Chandelier”, as well as vocal renditions of Etta James’ “At Last” and a hysterically twisted version of Liza Minnelli’s “Maybe This Time”.
Costuming was brilliant and incredibly creative with the cast’s changes happening whilst on stage. They brought colour and frivolity to the diva’s outfits which included the essential sequins, glitter, feathers, head pieces, beads, etc, that any showgirl starlet requires. A pure and simple necessity. The ladies could do without the wigs, which were a tad tacky. The two diva’s would have been better off simply wearing the wig stockings as a “dressing room” feeling whilst entering wearing their full length stunning feather dressing gowns rushing to get to the stage first even though they appear not “fully made up”.
Lighting and sound – guided by two brilliant technicians – was on point and couldn’t be faulted.
The use of Ruby’s Music Room – staging wise – truly made this performance perfection. This hidden alley way venue automatically gave you that feeling of an underground cabaret bar with it’s black and white tiles, selection of cute tables and chairs, small stage, palm tree’s, and dim lighting to truly set the scene. A very personal and intimate venue which set the scene.
This reviewer felt he had stepped back in time – fabulous.
Overall TOP SPOT is fun, frivolous, hilarious and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is here to entertain and entertain is exactly what it did.