From the opening act of the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival late-night variety show, Dirrty, it is very clear that this is not going to be a regular type of variety show. To say anymore about what transpires would be to ruin the surprise that show curator Elena Gabrielle has planned. The night itself, involves a variety of performance artists invited by Gabrielle to celebrate all things sex and taboo in their own unique way.
The condoms and lube are freely available and there is a lot of flesh – both male and female – on display. There are songs about the joys of protected sex and the answer to where exactly JonBenét Ramsey has been is revealed. It is indeed, a hedonistic night for all.
Gabrielle is unashamedly the heart, blood and tears (and possible other bodily functions) of this sexy show. All her acts are playful, engaging to watch and most importantly, fun. Her own spins on “All That Jazz” and “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend”, showcases her range of talents, including her impressive singing and her brilliant sense of humour. Gabrielle could front this show solely based on her own acts and it would be a standout for this festival.
However, this is promoted as a variety show and as such, the success of a production like this is based on its guest artists - and unfortunately on this night, I didn't feel the other performances were as captivating or exciting to watch as Gabrielle's. They were all nicely aligned with the "dirrty” theme for the evening and pushing the boundaries of "conservatism", but apart from the admirable Ladybird Blue, the other artists didn’t have the pulling power to drawn us in.
If you can handle the 11.30pm time slot, Dirrty is worth a look, if only to see Gabrielle strut her stuff. This is definitely a show where you can leave you inhibitions at the door and if you don’t, Gabrielle and guests will make sure they take them off you instead.
Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Season: 26 September, 1-3 October | 11.30pm
Tickets: $32 Full | $28 Conc
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival
* Original review appeared on Theatre Press on 26 September