What do a singing octopus, a mystical crow, an old woman who speaks little English and Wayne have in common? Not much, unless of course you're referring to Choo Choo Troupe's The Lost Lost LOST Cabaret. Presented as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the variety show enlists a number of performers from across the Festival to showcase their unique set of skills.
Taking reign of the proceedings is international award-winning chanteuse clown Sharnema Nougar and her loyal confidante, Pinky-Von-Sox (David Tieck). Nougar wears a most brilliant colander-skirt with Pinky making as much use of a funnel, red nose and cat ears as possible. The banter between the two is entertaining to watch, as is Nougar's interaction with the audience. It is impossible to not immediately warm to her, especially during her spontaneous playful turn with an audience member's Pavlov's Dog-like response to her clapping her tongs.
As charming and affable as our hosts were, a variety show is only as strong as its acts and on the evening in question, the invited guests definitely came out in top form. Josipa Draisma was simply hilarious as the music loving Baba Jaja, and Clara Cupcakes was her regular whimsical self as a singing, ukulele-playing octopus. Paul Bourke as Vlad the Crow was another weirdly wonderful act, however this one did feel like it went for a little longer than necessary.
The Lost Lost LOST Cabaret is odd and strange but it is certainly not dull. Choo Choo Troupe have provided a great opportunity for artists to share their zany acts and also a chance for audiences to be opened up to seeing something they would never have thought they'd see - and enjoy. With a different line-up each night, there's no reason why you wouldn't go back for more. Wayne is also pretty awesome.