Tash York’s Happy Hour - Bondi Festival (NSW)
Reviewed by Juliana Payne
Dates: 13 July - 16 July
Venue: Bondi Pavilion, Seagull Cabaret Hall
- Tash York packs a lot of fun and love into a single hour -
Tash York is a one-woman cabaret juggernaut, with songs, comedy, audience participation and the new genre cat-rap. A self-confessed bi woman doing drag – ‘to get the same pay as a man’ says she, and that’s about the cleanest gag of the night. York is lewd, crude and brash, hilariously so, and would make Mae West blush. York is also wonderfully affirming, warm, funny and talented. She shows off her Queensland Conservatorium-trained musical theatre skills with jazzy, bluesy adaptations of pop ranging from Celine Dion to the Foofighters, and she even writes and performs her own songs. With wry drag support from The Red Red Wines duo, Vivian and Pepe on violin and keyboards, and chipping in their two cents’ worth of gags and arch drag one-liners, it’s a full on hour of lung-belting fun. Pepe said he identified as a ‘glamdrogenous painted man’ and Viv said she just identified as a problem. It was that kind of show.
York's observational humour and quick wit kept the patter humming along nicely between songs. She tackles topics thrown at her by the audience, like hating cyclists who ride on the footpath, to her own highly dubious habits during the pandemic lockdowns in Melbourne. Her comedy is both relatable and hilarious, and she certainly does not shy away from taboo subjects. The audience was half whooping and half nervous every time she stepped off the stage to stalk around the cabaret tables looking for her next source of comedy.
My favourite bit was her celebration of booze and wine even as the wowsers outside the room were virtue signalling their embrace of Dry July. Whatever. York sang songs with names like “Shots, Shots, Shots” and we toasted her with our plastic ‘safe venue’ glasses of cheap red wine. Her improv skills were pretty impressive as she riffed off audience input to create her cat-rap; you just have to see it to get it.
Tash York packs a lot of fun and love into a single hour that’s definitely a show just for grown-ups. On stage she delights us with her big character, huge heart and even bigger frocks and wigs. She just wants everyone to be happy – and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Catch the rest of the Bondi Festival before it closes on the 16th July.