Review: The Roaring 20’s (Lunacy Cabaret)

poster for lunacy cabaret

An enthusiastic hat’s off to the most politically correct dirty cabaret show no one’s heard of

A silly, yet snarky, and a little bit dirty, night of flappers, hula hoop artist, pantomime performers and much, much more, The Lunacy Cabaret presented The Roaring 20’s to a lively crowd at the Opera House on January 18th.

The Lunacy Cabaret presents professional circus artists, clowns and comedians in a night where they can cut loose from constraints of stuffy corporate gigs and show what they want to a spirited crowd of friends and fans.

The show starts with a land acknowledgment that calls out other stuffy land acknowledgements. Opening the show, a host comes on stage to give his personal take on recognizing the use of indigenous land. The host references a Vice article by local journalist Graham Isador, saying that these speeches always come off as disconnected and sometimes similar to a sad statement seen at a funeral. Respectfully making the audience laugh, he calls for us to hang out with our indigenous friends, or go to a fun pow wow to show our support of the indigenous community.

Different circus acts then take to the stage in hilarious performances, usually with a vintage spin, sticking to the theme of the Roaring ’20s. The performers are having a blast, which makes the audience enjoy it even more. Each act is short and completely different from the last, always keeping you laughing and excited about what could happen next.

Three different clown characters host the show; Dave Mckay (Sketchy the Clown), Jeff Kearns (Fesso) and Allan Turner (The Moon). The Moon, the self-proclaimed villain of the night, stands on a balcony to the side of the stage. His snide and sarcastic comments between each act made for some of my favourite moments of the night.

The crowd is fully invested in the performance; at times, audience members intermittently yell, “TAKE YOUR PANTS OFF,” at others, they throw vegetables at the host. Sketchy the Clown lets us know that vegetables have been placed under the seats of those up in the balcony for when they do not like his jokes.

I must say that this is the first show a host has ever roasted me on stage. He mentions the reviewers of Mooney on Theatre are in the audience, referencing it as to the reason why he can’t take off his pants… just yet.

Although the content may not be corporate-friendly, I will call it the most politically correct dirty show I’ve seen. One performer asks for consent with an audience member who she has asked to dress up as a vagina. Another host brings up the politics of the 1920s, he references women’s rights and racism, questioning why we look fondly on this time period.

The show ends with an incredible cord de lisse performance, I believe, by Cosmin Negreanu and Zel Tyrant (the show has no program for confirmation). Similar to silks, the performers execute incredible feats with a large rope that hangs from the ceiling. They hang, drop, and wrap themselves in the fabric and present gorgeous positions through their choreography.

A night full of non-stop laughing (from audience and performers alike) and gorgeous circus tricks. I will be for sure returning and bringing a group of friends with me. The company presents three shows a year, with the next on April 4, 2020, marking their fifteenth anniversary. The company proclaims to be “the longest-running cabaret show that no one knows about,” I am happy to have finally found it!

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