- Katharine Gemmell
- 4 August 2019
Whip-smart cabaret from the Australian superstar
If you come to Reuben Kaye's titular solo show expecting a dose of whimsy, then you should probably just go home. Strutting in with sky-high heels – an outfit he describes as 'Mum I need to tell you something' – and a microphone with a Kim Kardashian ponytail, this isn't cabaret for the faint-hearted.
Backed up by his band, the Kaye Holes, it's a very modern cabaret that makes whip-smart references about everything from Bernini to blow-jobs, as well as putting his stunning pair of pipes – once dubbed as 'untrainable' by a former music teacher – on display.
Kaye takes the audience on an unapologetically camp journey through his life growing up as a young, queer, Jewish boy in 90s sports-obsessed Australia. Told through a mix of storytelling, comedy and classic songs with original lyrics (Kate Bush and Iggy Azalea get a nod), Kaye manages to dive into the personal without ever taking himself too seriously.
Audience interaction is paramount to the show and nobody is safe, especially not if you're a heterosexual male. In fact, it's in these moments of improvisation that the show prospers as Reuben's quick tongue and bold asides catch the audience off-guard and the unexpected becomes the norm.
Throw in a couple of outfit changes (even the microphone ponytail gets one) and Kaye manages to reclaim the cabaret genre as his own diverse and dangerously addictive brand.
Assembly Checkpoint, until Sun 25 Aug (not 7, 21), 9.30pm, £13-£14 (£12-£13).