[2012001] Gady LaLa – songs for the sophisticated fag hag

[2012001] Gady LaLa – songs for the sophisticated fag hag [FringeTIX]

Libby O’Donovan, Catherine Campbell, Sidonie Henbest @ La Bohème

8:00pm, Thu 16 Feb 2012

Gady LaLa has been sold out for ages (as far as I know – I only really started planning my Fringe assault this week), and it was the only show on The Shortlist that was on this evening (Day 0, as I tentatively called it – the “start” of Festivities (like Easter advertising) seems to be creeping earlier every year). Still, I figured, why not wander down to La Bohème to see if there’s standing room at the bar, or somesuch? After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

My Fringe Buddy beat me there and, as her incredible luck with last-minute ticketing continues, managed to snaffle two tickets which literally became available as she walked in the door. With few other punters present, she also grabbed a cocktail table right in front of the stage. We bought a bottle of bubbly and celebrated a rather splendid start to the Fringe… after all, Gady LaLa was (chronologically) the very first performance event of the year.

Matthew Carey parked at the piano and started tickling the ivories, and with only a modicum of fanfare our three songstresses took to the stage, careful not to upset the balance of their elaborate headwear (Campbell’s beer can rollers and Henbest’s jauntily-angled toy telephone made O’Donovan’s bunny ears look positively sedate… though the rest of Libby’s hairdo was an asymmetric delight). And, as one might expect, they launched the show with a Lady Gaga song – “but that’s the only one,” they back-announce, “so if you were here for a Lady Gaga cover show – or are dyslexic and thought this was a Lady Gaga show – then you’re really sad.”

So Gaga is banished for the rest of the performance in favour of the direction of the show’s subtitle – a series of stereotyped anthems for gay culture. After a couple of solo songs, where Henbest and Campbell profess their fag-hagness (Campbell: “I’ve slept with plenty of of gay friends, and turned them… gayer”), and O’Donovan merely opts for the shorter description of “fag”, there’s a little bit of audience interaction as the girls seek out the sluts (and man-whores) in the audience for some redemption (via the laying-on-of-hands).

But the bulk of the performance is dominated by two medleys, the first of which was the Masturbation Medley. Using individual words and phrases as leaping-off points to other songs, it bounces along a frantic pace, climaxing with the ever-dependable I Touch Myself. Then, with a mere seventeen minutes left in the show, the girls declare their intention to cram six days’ worth of anthems into the remaining time… and, despite a deceptively slow start with Careless Whisper, they make a pretty good fist of it. Consecutive Abba and Village People tracks (and their associated dances!) please the crowd no end; the encore (“we don’t have enough time to get off and come back on again”) results in raucous appreciation.

Adelaide is bloody lucky to have these three ladies in its cabaret circle: their direction and harmonies are fantastic, Libby’s voice is stunning throughout, and Catherine’s versatility (from disco lows to child-like highs) is totally grin-worthy. But it’s their stage presence that completely won me over; the three seem to share a singular sense of comedic timing, and Libby’s sneers of disappointment during It’s Raining Men were perfect. And, it must be said, her fellatio-face miming to Sidonie’s solo was positively alluring.

To be honest, I couldn’t imagine a better start to a Fringe campaign. The bubbles flowed, I laughed my arse off, and the sounds were bloody brilliant. Welcome to ff2012, indeed :)

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