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THEATRE: 17 JUNE 2015

By TONI CARROLL

Hair to the Throne, by Marney McQueen & Tim Bain | Directed by Adam Cook

Working Management & Hayes Theatre Co | Hayes Theatre, Potts Point, Sydney | Finishes 21 June

I’d forgotten how unselfconsciously silly and joyous cabarets can be.

As a part of their cabaret season, Hayes Theatre presents Marney McQueen as former Miss Leningrad and celebrity bikini waxer Rosa Waxoffski. Accompanying her is Russia’s biggest pianist, Boris Longschlongadongski (and, yes, we laughed every time his name was mentioned!).

This over-the-top show (what else would good cabaret be?) provides an onslaught of bad puns, cheap jokes, novelty songs and plenty of audience participation. McQueen’s Rosa is a larger-than-life character, with her spiky ’80s mullet, billowing smoke machine and big voice. She fills this “concrete bunker” of a theatre in “The Point Pipers” with her bad Russian accent and bad pronunciations.

Musical director Mark Jones has retooled some great songs to fit Rosa’s world and they’re belted out with gusto by the bikini waxer. McQueen’s voice is powerful enough to hit you in the face, if a little inconsistent. One minute she’s in full torch song mode, the next falls back into Rosa’s accented send-up voice. Her accent is also iffy at times, but that’s okay. This show is not about perfection, it’s about letting go of your worries from the day and going along for the fabulous ride.

I should give you a heads up. Being in such a small theatre, you have an increased chance of Rosa picking on you and dragging you into her world. It’s not just the first row, folks. She’s quite happy to interrogate female audience members on the state of their “down theres”, and to hold a male patron’s hand between her thighs … I could explain why, but it will be more fun if you go see it for yourself. I’ll just give you a one-word hint: vajazzle!

(If you’ve never heard of vajazzling, it might be safest to Google it before venturing into Rosa-land.)

And what would Rosa be without Boris, the perfect low-key, low-energy foil to her exubarance. Boris, who stays awake nights lovingly crafting his beloved “keh-nock, knock” jokes. Boris, whose unrequited love for Rosa is played for all it’s worth, and is funnily forlorn.

Take note, the second show in June is already almost sold out. Luckily Hayes Theatre has squeezed in another performance in August. Keep your eye out for Rosa at comedy festivals and venues around Australia.

NOTE: To read Toni Carroll's blog, visit tonicarroll.wordpress.com