An unforgettable night was experienced when we fell through ‘The Kaye Hole’ at the Cremorne Theatre, QPAC on opening night. The cabaret hosted by superstar entertainer, Reuben Kaye was a glorious mashup of ballsy talent, comedic brilliance, and naughty fantastical acts.
Internationally acclaimed performer, Reuben Kaye was the most creative and mischievous hostess and introduced the show with his own grand entrance, enticing lights and a gorgeous musical number dressed head to toe in full makeup, lashes, heeled boots, and sexy matrix style attire. Kaye belted his face off with the most powerful voice.
Reuben Kaye was hilarious as he attempted to find out what kind of crowd he was working with. He was incredible at improvisation when the Brisbane audience responded to different parts and created an indescribable banter with all the puns he was throwing out, mostly relating to Australian culture. The comedian knew how to poke fun at himself as well as the spectators, especially when talking about the less fortunate people up in the balcony compared to the rich people down below on the cabaret style tables. Kaye was a political statement by just existing and explained that this is what happens when you tell your children they can be anything.
The wonderous artist is fearless and bold and there are hints of Tim Curry in ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ with a modern twist and delightfully edgy. Kaye was accompanied by a talented live band called ‘The Preferred Pronouns’, they played along with his camp playful persona and gave the show that rock ‘n’ roll tone it needed to keep folks on the edge wanting more.
Reuben Kaye showcased many talents and then wanted to get intimate and vulnerable with the audience. He went and sat on the steps of the stage and took a deep but necessary breath and basically fast rapped political commentary about the world and why humanity royally kicked it to the waste side. It was incredibly educational and gave an insight into the issues that he wants to stand up against, including homophobia, violating indigenous rights, classism, climate change deniers and more. Kaye was fabulous and continued to intrigue and entertain Brisbane in the middle of every act.
First to perform in Reuben Kaye’s variety show was award-winning pole dancer, Charlie Love. Charlie arrived on stage and immediately the audience was intrigued. He was super strong and played up the comedic side as he was dancing on the pole. Charlie’s song was ‘Bring me to life’ by Evanescence, a very dramatic emotional song that had the lyrics, ‘Wake me up inside’ and every couple of beats he would pretend to ‘fall asleep’ on the pole and on the speakers, you would hear ‘Wake up Jeff’ from the popular Wiggles song. It was hilarious and we couldn’t stop chuckling in our seats. His strength was out of this world and he added that extra comedic flavour to it.
Hope One was a sensational performer as she began with a spoken word piece and then transitioned into beatboxing. Hope descends from the Te Ati Haunui-a-Pãpãrangi tribe and the Ngati Maniapoto tribe and is currently the only Maori female professional beatboxer. She was inspirational and shed light on the horrible injustices occurring not just in Australia but worldwide to Indigenous and First Nations people in daily life and in incarceration. Hope is a talented and captivating award-winning artist and leads the way for people everywhere to stand up and speak out about any causes or issues in their community.
Ashleigh Roper was a jaw-dropping aerial hoop, hula hoops and contortion artist and was accompanied by host Reuben Kaye as he sung her music next to the people in the balcony. Ashleigh performed some death-defying moves and skills that left the audience feeling amazed that the human body can do that. Her musicality and rhythm in addition to her charm and pure talent was brilliant. Roper could perform in her own cabaret circus production in the future with her dedication and creativity.
Leah Shelton was introduced as ‘the doll’ and walked out on stage just as stiff and doll-like as described. The critically acclaimed performance artist performed in latex and danced whilst slowly removing a piece of material from her body and face until she was left with the plastic lips and then down to her full naked exposed body. Leah was comedic and intriguing as well as brave and vulnerable. Shelton the feminist artist presented to the audience rarely seen gorgeous transformative art and literally bared her soul to the public. It was brilliant black comedy whilst she beautifully kicked stereotypes and misogyny to the curb by showing that people can be themselves and no one should bring them down for it.
The unstoppable Tina Del Twist was the highlight of the night and the audience lapped her up. Tina the 1920s style Cabaret Chanteuse artist arrived on stage in a stumble already tipsy it seemed. She had her eyes almost covered by a fortune-teller style headband and acted as if she was not ready for the show and almost drunk.
As part of her act, Tina was hilariously ‘not all there’ on purpose and attempted to perform the song ‘I’m Feeling Good’ and then signalled for someone to hand her a fishbowl of booze that she drank in front of the crowd. After every line of the performance, she would keep grabbing the bowl. The audience couldn’t contain their laughter for her and her subtle energy and little quirks and outbursts. In one part of her act Tina courageously pretended like she was at her own rock concert and said, ‘Ok this half of the room scream – I love you Tina’ and then asked one man on the other side to shout, ‘Get off the stage you f***ing random w**re’. It was genius audience participation. When the man said that phrase, it was comedic gold as Tina acted as if she was terribly offended and Brisbane ate it up almost falling off their chairs. Tina was wonderful and I would pay to see her own full-length show.
The final cabaret act of the night was the scorching Jacqueline Furey, an incredible dancer and fire artist. She was an eye-catching performer that combined her burlesque dancing with insane fire stick artistry. Jacqueline amazed the audience with her erotic dancing ability and the way she ate fire during the performance in addition to lighting parts of her body on fire. Multi-talented superstar Jacqueline left people wanting to know more. A spectacular way to conclude the show.
Reuben Kaye’s hole full of wonderous performances was a rollercoaster ride of Australia’s best talented performers. Unfortunately, Luna THICC, a drag artist couldn’t perform due to unexpected circumstances. However, the show was fabulous none-the-less and gave a beautiful snapshot of what an out-of-this-world variety show can deliver. Kaye was blunt and blissful all in the same breath and gave Brisbane Aussie flair at its finest with a hint of spice. Drop everything now and reach into Kaye’s Hole for tickets to this unique night of fun, fantasy, and fanfare at QPAC until 12 February.
All images – Supplied