***** STARS

By Nick Pilgrim

Presented by the City of Stonnington, So Soiree brought back a much-needed celebration of our independent arts scene.

To say the event had something for everyone is an understatement. With more relaxed social distancing in effect and the forthcoming silly season upon us, there was a distinct buzz of electricity and good will in the air.

Assisted by pleasant summer weather, the handy central location at Grattan Gardens took full advantage of Prahran’s edgy shopping, fine dining, and nightclub culture.

Running over two consecutive weekends, the festival offered a neat range of theatrical options including cabaret, circus acrobatics, and stand-up comedy.

These included:


  • The Aspie Hour
  • Damian Callinan & Paul Calleja (The Wine Bluffs)
  • Zoë Coombs Marr – Live
  • Josh Glanc – The Best Bits
  • Blake Everett and Oliver Coleman (Dig Their Own Graves)
  • Claire Hooper – Live
  • Selina Jenkins – BOOBS
  • The People of Cabaret – The Parlour Takeover
  • Dave Thornton – Live
  • Welcome to Blunderland
  • Cal Wilson – Live

‘Werk It – Tight Fit’ is Aerobics Oz Style meets Cirque Du Soleil, suitable for every generation from Countdown to TikTok. Dripping with sexy, tongue-in-cheek camp, I can’t think of a better way to welcome back live entertainment.

The five-strong troupe clearly knew how to own and propel an outrageous brand of comedy for maximum effect. Hosted by the delightfully dippy Malia Walsh, their forty-minute set featured hardcore acrobatics and adagio ballet from Vincent van Berkel, impressive tests of strength from Cassia Jamieson, hula hoop wizardry from Lisa Lottie, and jaw-dropping juggling from Richard Sullivan.

Playing at The Parlour, this venue is best described as a spiegeltent scaled to black box proportions. Meaning, viewers got to experience proceedings up close and personal.  For a show with as much action and activity as ‘Werk It – Tight Fit’, the postage stamp stage would put most veteran artists to the test. Therein lay the act’s pumping energy and dangerous excitement. One false move and team members could literally land in your lap.

Made up of a dozen fast-paced routines, ‘Werk It – Tight Fit’, engaged and maintained audience interest at all times. Linked by quick-thinking wit from Walsh, everyone in the room was determined to have a good time.

Backed by an eclectic music mix from Enya to Madonna, some of the evening’s many highlights included:


  • Lottie picking out targets in a gigantic game of human quoits
  • van Berkel’s backflip assisted by 12 kilo kettle bell
  • Jamieson’s spin on tabletop dancing taken to a daring new level
  • Walsh’s mad battle with a roll of duct tape
  • Sullivan’s balls to the wall hand-eye coordination

Decked out in fluorescent spandex and lashings of blue eye shadow to spare, this attractive quintet would appeal in any cabaret or comedy festival calendar, or indeed as a stand-alone showcase on their own.

Pushing their hilarious enthusiasm to the brink, here’s hoping ‘Werk It – Tight Fit’ plans a return season very soon.