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ALL THAT FOSSE - Hayden Orpheum, Cremorne (NSW)

Presented by Cabaret le Queer

Reviewed by Juliana Payne

FRI SEPT 30th Hayden Orpheum

When you get a call-out to review a show called All That Fosse it’s a no brainer - you just put your hand up! Having endured several years of ‘modern dance’ classes as a child in the seventies, I am well versed in the classic Fosse style. This fabulous crew, headed by the award winning director/producer, Lauren Batschowanow, (who performs as Lady DeVine) leave my old jazz hands and heel-toe tap for dead. Asuma Jender, Kate Garrett, Peaka Boobe, Sarah Cregan and Vixen Heart provide a glamourous chorus for the lead Lady, and they also get their chances to shine in the spotlight during the show.

It was a sound creative choice to leave the stage bare – this allowed the performers to strut their stuff unencumbered by wobbly sets and meant there was no competition for the audience’s eyeballs. The splendid art deco surrounds of the Hayden Orpheum did not need any embellishment and the air was literally pink with hazy delight.

Framed with a bit of narrative history by Lady DeVine, they quickly got stuck into what we were all there to see and hear: a medley of Fosse’s biggest show-stopping numbers. They focused the first act on Cabaret and Sweet Charity, with some of the most well-known and iconic songs and once they warmed up, we could see the sinews and muscles standing out in the way the Fosse himself always demanded from the dancers.

Photography credit: Rob Studdert

Choreography by Kate Garrett and Lauren Batschowanow with additional choreography by Sarah Cregan and Dew Lin was energetic and stylish. I wanted to see more of the sinew and muscle, but I think they chose style over energy sometimes.

Lady DeVine’s live singing was mixed in with lip-synching to the other hits, but I wish we’d had more live singing as it was great! The lighting team required more organisation when controlling the follow spot, as we kept losing the stars in the shadows.

The second act focused on Chicago, and I was in seventh heaven. It’s in my top 5 musicals list and the team were as magnificently sinuous and provocative as Fosse would have wanted. Roxy, Velma, Billy and Mama came to life as the dancers warmed to the Fosse groove and the inimitable songs.

Bob Fosse might have been a narcissistic misogynistic swine, but at the end of the day the dance is the thing. Some young people at interval were asking each other ‘what’s the show about?’ I wanted to say to them - It’s about the DANCE…

You can find out more about Lady Devine and Cabaret Le Queer via Facebook or Instagram (@ladydevineofficial)



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