Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Dunstan Playhouse
Until 10 Jun 2017

Review by John Wells

The first clue that this is not going to be a night of smoky torch songs is the opening number, during which Bridget Everett belts out a warning – or a promise – that “shit is going to get fucked up”. The next clue is when she flashes a nipple and launches into what I presume is the “Titty Song” (“… you got those tube socks titties, put ‘em in the air, you got those beaver-tail titties, put ‘em in the the air!”, etc), which features repeated assaults-by-breast on audience members, as Everett mashes her massive rack in the face of front-row patrons. Any notion of genteel cabaret disappears when she leads the audience in the eternal question: “what do I gotta do to get a dick in my mouth?”. I doubt Jacques Brel ever asked that question.

Everett’s confidence, swagger and ballsy playfulness are breath-taking. Her raw power and intensity cannot be ignored. She is filthy, unafraid and rides a relentless wave of single-minded comedy.

But there is subtlety and pathos in this show. While Everett’s persona is a backwoods, booze-soused yokel, her stagecraft is clever. She knows when to turn down the bombast and engage softly, almost confidentially, with the audience. She tells stories of her unborn children, her estranged family, and her dying father with a raucous flippancy and an underlying gravitas. There is a brilliant and subversive wit at work here.

Everett is an explosive, raucous and unforgettable opening to the Cabaret Festival.