Apocalypse! - John Clancy's 'glamorously ugly cabaret'
Cabaret at the end of the world takes aim at our petty complacency and hypocrisy
There’s an inspired idea at the heart of John Clancy’s ‘glamorously ugly cabaret’, that, with a couple of tweaks and the right home, could develop into a truly anarchic calling card for new Scottish company The Occasional Cabaret. The premise of a down-at-heel revue, performed on the day of reckoning, is the perfect excuse for a string of songs and sketches taking aim at the petty complacency and hypocrisy that has brought us to the brink of Armageddon.
Gdjet and Lulu (Catherine Gillard and Nancy Walsh) are our hosts for this countdown to destruction. Clad in tawdry finery, their make-up smudged and teeth blackened this pair of angels/washed-up con artists strikes a weird balance of pathetic and menacing as they take us through the kinds of questions we should expect to hear before being admitted at the pearly gates. This is interspersed with some darkly amusing songs set to understated musical accompaniment from Tim Brinkhurst.
While Clancy’s broadly satirical script is keenly observed, and at times discomfiting, the atmosphere created by our barstool artistes remains stubbornly flat. Despite the presence of a few tables in front of the stage, an edgier ambience might have been created in a working club rather than a theatre auditorium, while Gillard and Walsh would be advised to dial their performances a couple of notches higher to effect a more enthusiastic response.
Currently on tour throughout Scotland. Seen at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 14 Oct.