Welcome to the house of fun. Welcome to the lion’s den!
Hosted by singer, comedian and epicurean Paul McDermott and featuring an array of special guests, The Funhouse brings troubadours and oddities to the forefront of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in the tradition of Vaudeville, carnivals, and freak shows. But with a distinctively contemporary twist. There is no lion, though. Just an hour of unadulterated entertainment. A spectacle to satisfy the senses.
Nestled amongst the newly refurbished Festival Centre Plaza, The Famous Spiegeltent is the ideal venue for this cavalcade of curiosities. With its rickety wooden floor and stained glass windows the ambience is entrenched.
As the backing band, including Musical Director and guitarist/ backing vocalist Glenn Moorhouse, plays on the stage, McDermott skulks in from the back singing, “waiting for the show”. He is the ideal ringmaster, the cog that keeps the wheels turning. Brimming with enthusiasm, a broad and genuine smile upon his face even as he watches from the side of the stage, he offers a blend of comedy and musical prowess. Novelty songs about anti-vaxxers, Fascists and Pete Evans tickle the funny bone. While hecklers are pelted with A Song for Karens and verbal ripostes. McDermott is a maestro and a humorous one at that.
Performer, compere, mistress of ceremonies, social lubricator, glamorous host & all-round entertainer, Philmah Bocks is sensational in her two lip sync performances. The first to Lola’s Theme, with arguably the finest costume reveals in herstory, is a fusion of comedy and style. The second is simply a masterclass in glamour and elegance. Philmah’s high energy and enthusiastic performances are as bombastic as her Fabulous Phaomy wigs. She is a pure delight.
Comedian and actor Dilruk Jayasinha oozes hilarity. His quick-fire set encompasses everything from racial commentary and self-deprecating humour to rationalising yoga-type activities. No subject or audience member is off limits as he seamlessly glides from rehearsed verse to impromptu banter in a heartbeat. His pleas to “don’t yuck my yum” are contextually horrific and comical. It is impossible not to cringe and laugh simultaneously at Jayasinha, one of Australia’s prolific comedic talents.
Punk rock daredevil and professional unusualist Captain Ruin is possibly the oddest of the oddities on show in The Funhouse. With a vibrant mohawk to rival the plumage of a macaw, roller skates and a fondness for bare flesh, his two spectacular freak show-esque performances are fascinating and…painful. Straight jackets and bowling balls fascinating spectacles do make. Captain Ruin is not for the squeamish.
The Funhouse is an idyllic hour of escapism to eradicate the doldrums of winter. Guaranteed to make you laugh, cheer, squirm, and possibly gasp in horror, it will definitely entertain.
Adelaide Cabaret Festival Review By Anita Kertes