Even though the Cabaret Festival has moved to the City of Stonnington, The Butterfly Club still brings Melbourne a cabaret binge in the middle of the CBD, in the middle of winter when we most need it. “Melbourne Cabaret Fringe Festival is a true representation of indie cabaret in Melbourne,” notes Tom Dickens of The Butterfly Club. The independent cabaret genre in Melbourne is unlike that of the rest of the country, according to Dickens: “It goes in a different direction.”
The second Melbourne Cabaret Fringe Festival features the original political and subversive show by Ella Filar’s Krows Bar Kabaret Raising ‘Ell! With her performance roots in Left-Of-Berlin, Eastern European soviet bloc, Filar harks back to the political nature of cabaret when it was original, cutting, raw, rude and provocative. Filar’s work remains true to the original nature of the genre, fitting perfectly with the program focus for the 2017 Melbourne Cabaret Fringe Festival. Filar’s work is a reflection of the original style of Berlin performance art, that is, cabaret with a political edge. This new production is like a showcase of her best songs as she takes a swipe at the culture of social media, something she likens to a living hell.
Imagine Dante's journey into the Inferno, but set in 2017. The 7 deadly sins are replaced by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder, Grindr and Youtube. Featuring a cacophonous collection of four singers, along with a saxophone, a violin and a piano, Raising ‘Ell! plays with the notions of projected self – we send a version of ourselves into cyberspace, once someone responds, that version is altered and this can happen over and over again … “Are we real or virtual?” ponders Filar, “Once we’ve been posted, pinged, tweeted and swiped right, left and right again all we’re left with is the bizarre multiple distortions of projected self. Internet paradise turns into internet inferno. This is no entertainment for entertainment’s sake; this is very political and socially charged Kabaret with a ‘K’!” The show features four performers on stage and three musicians, all clad in white suits, described by Filar in her typical punster style as ‘the all-white all-male post-human neo-supremacist outfit – an antidote to fishnets, corsets, feather boas and ‘cheep’ high camp.'
What can audiences expect? “Offensive exchanges interspersed with songs,” says Filar. “It’s subversive and provocative and takes digs at the old left and alt right. The show is looking at the status quo and the pecking order which are issues in society. It’s a politically angled performance.”
Raising ‘Ell is performing 12 – 16 July 2017 at The Butterfly Club as part of the Melbourne Cabaret Fringe Festival. Further information: www.thebutterflyclub.com