Mondayitis Cabaret
The Abbey. 10 Dec 2012

Canberra has seen some pretty spectacular cabaret productions at the professional level shimmy through town in 2012. But the thing is, every performing art needs a place for tomorrow’s headliners to grow and develop their acts, and that place in Canberra is Mondayitis Cabaret.

Yes, the amateur scene in Canberra is positively flourishing, with Mondayitis proving fertile ground for the capital’s own unique flavour of burlesque and other such pursuits.

Established earlier in 2012, and recently relocated to a larger venue due to popular demand, Mondayitis pops up every few months with a new theme and a fresh bunch of local performers – giving all proceeds to a local charity supporting those that have experienced domestic violence.

Finishing off the year with a festive production, XXXmas, Mondayitis performers this time round offered a veritable feast of live music, chanson, comedy and of course, striptease of all persuasions to get locals geared up for the silly season.

Kicking off with a spiced up version of the Nutbush, complete with eighties garb, the vivacious founder of Mondayitis, Chocolate E Claire, alongside Harley Quinn and Bo Peep were the perfect warm up act.

It was at this stage the host of the evening, ‘Unsaintly Nick’, surfaced to introduce some Christmas duets by Bobbie Noire and Candy Canes, engaging in some rather uninspiring banter that would have been best left backstage.

Initially giving quite an elegant performance, the two talented songbirds also lost momentum and unfortunately fizzled out towards the end of their act. However, Eva Desire subsequently revived the show, with a charming little version of ‘Santa’s Coming Down the Chimney’.

Next up was Arachne Phobia with her trademark brand of spider-themed burlesque, looking sultry and self assured, even through a minor wardrobe malfunction.

Set two kicked off with The Duchess and her dirty granny burlesque routine, firmly grasping the audience’s attention and sending them into hysterics with her sophisticated knack for physical comedy and creative gags – complete with a wipe on the face for one lucky punter with a spitty tissue.

Unsaintly Nick then redeemed himself with some creative, Xmas-themed audience participation, choosing two unwitting ladies to tear a piece of cardboard behind their back into the shape of an Christmas tree, before introducing the lovely warbling songstress, Harley Quinn, and Chris Benson for their pleasant, but somewhat undercooked renditions of ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ and ‘Baby it’s Cold Outside’.

The vampy Cherry Blossom ended set two with a bit of rock and roll, tearing up the stage with her supercharged ‘Santa’s Got a Hot Rod’ Rockabilly burlesque routine and sending the now thoroughly jovial audience wild with her highly polished performance.

In set three, Franky Gloom literally tore up the stage, having a crack at a toy Santa’s head in a metal inspired burlesque piece, and was followed by another excellent audience participation game – with the participants this time stealing the show with their own slice of entertainment!

Pia Waugh offered some cracking good entertainment with her mix of original and cover tunes accompanied by acoustic guitar – including a mashup of The Beatles and Metallica that worked a treat and a ‘cheeky’ cover that was essentially a string of deadpan but hilarious fart jokes.

Highly anticipated that evening was the local burlesque favourite, Deb Delicious, and she didn’t disappoint fans with her adorable tassle-rama, delighting at opening gift box after gift box of pasties and attempting tassle-twirling where no one has dared twirl before.

The evening just got better from there, with an appearance by the Merry MacGregor Sisters and their darling twin burlesque outfit, as well as second offerings from vocalists Bobbie Noire and Candy Canes and a burlesque duo by Chocolate E Claire and Kiki La Bouche. But it was, fittingly, Unsaintly Nick that wrapped up the evening with an appropriately naughty ‘Santa and I Know It’.

Overall XXXmas, like previous Mondayitis productions, was a fun, edgy and highly inclusive vehicle for those closet Canberra performers to come out and explore their potential in a supportive environment, collaborate with other local artists and showcase their goods to the recreation-hungry ACT population - be sure to watch out for the amorously-themed ‘Roses and Romance’ show in the New Year!

Deborah Hawke

When: Closed
Where: Mondayitis, The Abbey
Bookings: Closed