Club SwizzleLeft – Club Swizzle. Photo – Prudence Upton. Cover – Reuben Kaye. Photo – Rachel Mia Matchless Glitter

Decadent, wild, fast, packed, noisy, colourful, clever, atmospheric, unusual, ribald, unexpected and enormous fun are just a few of the applicable adjectives for Club Swizzle which opened in Adelaide on Thursday night at the Space Theatre.

Unrecognisable as the theatre we know and love, set up with some tables, lots of chairs, a very prominent bar in the middle and another off in a corner, the place was busting with people knocking back expensive tipple and trying to hear and be heard over the noisiest ‘auditorium’ I’ve known. Waiters were doing a roaring trade with Pol Roger champers and pretty cocktails and a man with remarkable eyelashes and bright lipstick was making himself known to as many people as he could with a friendly, “Hello and welcome to Club Swizzle. I’m Ruby.”

Everyone was welcome and glad to be there by the sight and sound of things. This show was created (you can’t really say “written”) by Brett Haylock and there was a fair amount of improvisation going on which made it a show you could see more than once  just for the fun of it. The lighting was spot on and varied with strobe, haze and rainbow colours. There was a brightly dressed band (Mikey and the Nightcaps) playing nothing recognisable but good stuff with a sort of fairground quality that added to the jumble. 

Suddenly there was a siren. It was the “All clear” signal so familiar to Brits in the war. And it meant it. In the blinking of a few big eyelashes the waiters tossed chairs about in a highly effective way, the bar was cleared of all that was necessary to make it a bar so that all that was left was a sturdy large table and, in a few astonishing minutes, that was the stage and sparkling Ruby, sequins on his 12 cms high heels as well and a long pony tail on his microphone was telling us that Club Swizzle is a state of mind and that he was “what happens when you tell your children they can be anything!”

Ruby, because he’s precious, greeted “the poor people” sitting up the back, sympathetically suggesting they may be weak with hunger and needing food parcels. What energy Reuben Kaye has! The audience liked his intelligence, his up-to-the-minute patter, outrageous nonsense, good singing voice, his dab hand with a knife and a lemon and sheer theatricalism – just right for Ruby – the MC with cabaret pizzazz and some.

A beautiful young woman drunk and dressed can have awful trouble getting her gear off and the audience was treated to seeing endeavour triumph over giggly inebriation in a gloriously funny piece by Laurie Hagen. Remember that name. Laurie has a gamin face, a touch of Audrey Hepburn and Liza Minelli, a beautiful body, very good singing voice and stacks of talent which will take her far. Catch her in Adelaide before she’s whipped off to Hollywood. She was saved from a terrible indiscretion just in the knickers by the waiters – who weren’t just waiters you know but the most amazing acrobats you’ll see in a long time. What Ben Lewis, Joren Dawson, Will Underwood and Simon McClure did on that once-a-bar stage with chairs, ropes, drinks and each other is simply amazing. Their derring-do had the audience gasping and clapping the astonishing display. 

They weren’t the only ones who could do things with ropes as witness slinky, sexy Frederique Cournoyer Lessard on the aerial hoop whose amazing grip on life seemed to rest on a curled foot or fingertips up high in the Space. Ruby was no slouch on the ropes too – “I’m Tarzan and Jane.”

You can expect anything at Club Swizzle and when Shay Horay distorted his face with elastic bands so that we were looking at something very weird indeed, it all went into the exotic mix that was Club Swizzle.

This was an exciting, innovative show and the audience was still buzzing on the way out. Many congratulations to all concerned.


Adelaide Festival Centre presents
Club Swizzle
concept Brett Haylock

Venue: The Space Theatre | Festival Theatre, King William Road, Adelaide SA
Dates: 14 – 31 December 2017
Bookings: BASS 131 246



Most read Adelaide reviews