Wales Millenium Centre, Weston Studio
After the massive revival of cabaret acts at the Edinburgh Fringe over the last few years it was only a matter of time before the wild and wacky world of variety acts hit Cardiff. Thanks to Citrus Arts and Pontardawe Arts Centre some of the very best in cabaret are now touring Wales with an electric showcase of international talent.
Hosted by the wonderfully unpredictable Chris Lynam and the glamorous, charismatic Kate McKenzie the show was never dull, many of the acts were intense and rather serious but this zany duo always managed to pick up the pace. In between acts Chris would perform his unique brand of alternative comedy whilst Kate had her hands full keeping this little man, with big hair and an even bigger imagination in check. Occasionally Chris’ almost psychotic character would slip and even he couldn’t help but laugh along with the mayhem he created.
|Kate and Chris|
The first act to perform were the cheeky and charming Bella Kinetica with their retro four-wheel roller skate routine. The multi-award winning pair have been performing together for three years now and their hard work has obviously paid off – their tricks were impressive and well rehearsed. However this first routine was by far outdone by their return in the second act on the double trapeze – original and full of energy they worked hard for the audience’s admiring applause.
Carrying on with the circus skills theme was Finnish Tiina Tuomisto, with an amazing display of strength and control during her hand balancing act. Her first performance was tense yet enchanting, you couldn’t take your eyes off her but didn’t want to clap in case it distracted her and caused her to fall. Her second routine was a little more relaxed and upbeat, her hula-hoop display far exceeded anything you see on TV talent shows – a performer of true talent.
Offering up something different was Oxford educated, magical boffin Oliver Meech. His brain-bending tricks fused great showmanship, psychology and intricate sleight of hand in a way that could rival superstar Derren Brown. He performed with great enthusiasm and a boyish charm that allowed some of his slightly cheesy gags to be instantly forgiven. I literally have no idea how he achieved some of his tricks and would love to see him in his own full-length show – great performer!
Rounding off the night of talent was Duo Majestic – a pair of finely-toned Polish hunks. The two were so in tune with each other as they performed incredible displays of strength and balance, it was simply mesmerising. Although the performance sometimes veered towards being homoerotic, I could completely forgive these two fine specimens of manhood. Just stunning, both in their physical appearance and their huge talents (no pun intended). Wow!
Overall it was a brilliant night out and I would urge everyone to get tickets for the next round in February, where a whole new set of acts will amaze and amuse. Cwtch Cabaret sum it up perfectly on their website “Free your mind, explore the extraordinary and enter a place where normal rules do not apply.”
For more info on all the acts and Cwtch Cabaret click here.
Review by Chelsey Gillard
Pictures from www.cwtchcabaret.co.uk