Entertainment Hive 2020

Johanna Allen in Cake

Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Space Theatre, June 20-21

Review by Honey B

Johanna Allen’s world premiere of her Adelaide Cabaret Festival show, Cake, was a decadent overload of excesses. With a beautiful Marie Antoinette beehive wig atop her head, the sparkling cabaret chanteuse delved into our everyday addictions with utter abandon and joy. Allen slid out of a glorious bedazzled clawfoot bath in the passionate throes of excess to her sexy, slow-burn version of Avicii’s chart-topping hit, Addicted To You. It was a delicious opening and a glorious taste of what was to come. All human flaws were on the menu – from food cravings to phone obsession, lust and voyeurism. Standout numbers included U2’s Desire, Col Porter songs Let’s Do It and So In Love from the musical Kiss Me Kate. There were plenty of fun moments including Allen’s renditions of Funky Cold Medina and Chumbawamba’s classic Thubthumping. Allen’s gossip-driven dark tango version of Kylie Minogue’s Confide In Me was brilliantly performed and suited the show’s themes down to each perfectly performed lyric. Adelaide musical director Mark Simeon Ferguson helped Allen craft this spectacular show, which featured plenty of glorious song mash-ups and a tight four-piece band. A little extra bit of drama was added to the show when Allen’s headset microphone stopped working. The seasoned performer simply grabbed a handheld mic and cheekily stated: “You can’t shut me up no matter what!’’ A little bit of choreography went out the window thanks to the handheld mic, but Allen had fun with it and the Wednesday night audience loved her even more. This show is a pure, thought-provoking, indulgent pleasure.
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