Be wary of becoming too comfortable in your seat lest Bernadette Byrne decides to sit on your lap, only to later label you a potential stalker. There’s a skewed logic at play, it seems, in what has been dubbed Revolutionary Contemporary Cabaret. Sex is good; lack of participation is the only vice – welcome to East End Cabaret and their romp of a show.
Ad-libs – sometimes dark, mostly sultry, and always humorous – interlace an impeccably choreographed performance. There’s enough intelligence to keep your lower and higher order desires tingling along with the cavorting duo’s songs. Byrne’s stage presence and voice are complemented by Victor Victoria’s versatile instrumentals and quips. The characters interact in a fashion that conspires to build up the audience (or one particular member) only to cut them down in a morbid fashion. Byrne is often whimsically soft and sultry, Victoria clinically harsh in her assassination of herself, and other characters real and imaginary.
Put yourself through the East End Cabaret mill and you come out with a working definition of a “danger wank”. You will find gyrations and insinuations as to what it might look like on a train, at work or in a forest. The half-man, half-woman Victoria confuses the spectacle somewhat in her demonstrations but you understand her androgyny is an easy barrier to hurdle. Her instructions are clear: “It’s about self-discovery”, the audience are told, “touch yourself and your neighbour.”
The tone of the act brings content, otherwise the more extreme side of risqué into the realm of the huggable. It’s witty, clever and veritably sexy. A must-see for pretty much anyone but the prude.