Glamoor! The Kweer Kabaret
The Street – Free Fringe!
**** (four stars)
Ladies and gentlemen! We are living in a neo-fascist, neo-dadaist state! And Gender. Is. Dead!’ proclaims Mystika Glamoor, the aptly named host of Glamoor! The Kweer Kabaret, as she opens up her monstrous menagerie of gender illusionists/performance artists. As the mistress of ceremonies’ moniker would suggest, Mystika and her cavalcade of colourful curiosities evoke the mystery, the glamour, and the enchanting excess of the traditional German cabaret of the 20th century. The level of theatricality is not diminished by the intimate milieu of the downstairs section of The Street bar, but actually enhances the magical and, at times, outrageous tapestry woven by its cast and crew throughout the wildly entertaining 60 minute run. Bolstered by a rotating cast of performance artists from a variety of different styles (drag queens, drag kings, and live singers to name a few), The Kweer Kabaret is a multifaceted mosaic of queer artistry which forces its audience to bask in the glow of the weird, the wonderful, and the camp. Drag queens mimic barn animals and offer the illusion of ingesting their own vomit on stage for the audience’s savoury bemusement. Others perform licentious acts on adult sex toys to modern queer anthems, the audience luxuriating in the carnivalesque pageant of paganism which they see before them.
Offering a detour from the long-winding road of slapstick entertainment, there is also entrees into the political; for instance, the night I had the pleasure of seeing the show, a drag king (gracing us with his debut performance) performed a number which concerned Donald Trump’s radicalisation of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), performed to Foreigner’s rock ballad Cold as Ice. This number is just one example of many which showcase the Kweer Kabaret’s penchant for not only the marvelous and the macabre, but also topical political art which illustrates why, in today’s increasingly intolerant society, spaces of creativity and openness such as this are very much needed as a release from the oppressive Western world we find ourselves inhabiting. Mystika herself closes the show with a hauntingly comedic rendition of Blue Velvet, a welcomingly reserved yet decidedly zany denouement of the Kweer Kabaret.
Mystika and her guests invite the audience into the world queerness and cabaret, a world wherein weirdness and difference are celebrated and tensions and anxieties within culture at large are negotiated via the medium of performance art. Glamoor! The Kweer Kabaret undeniably invites audiences to embrace the weirdo, the freak, and the mysterious glamour inside themselves… but, above all, it appeals to its audience to be one thing: whatever and whoever they want to be.