Poly Hood Cabaret [FringeTIX]
Polytoxic @ The Ringbox
10:30pm, Tue 24 Feb 2009
“A suburban safari with a coconut twist,” claims the flyer. And, on the basis of other external stimuli, I was under the impression that Poly Hood Cabaret would be a polynesian-tinged Fringe cabaret – you know, a few songs, some acrobatics, a bit of humour. So I was a little surprised when the show opened with a documentary projected onto a screen at the back of the stage, following the “tapping” of a tattoo covering pretty much all of the recipient’s lower body. Lindah E provided a low, soulful backing to this story and, when the screen dimmed and the tattoo that we watched accompanied it’s owner out on stage and up the rope for some acrobatics, the crowd of about thirty-or-so went wild.
Right about now, I was thinking something like: “fuck me, this show is going to be amazing.” Great content, a well balanced audio-visual show… what was not to love?
It didn’t last.
Out trooped the first dance component of the evening, led by Fez Fa’anana. Now, I’ll happily argue with anyone who reckons that the Polytoxic crew can’t dance – throughout the evening, their talent is clearly on display. Unfortunately, it’s being used in pieces that rate off-the-charts on the kitsch-ometer. And I could never really get past that happy-go-lucky, twee-islanders aspect of the performances. There were some other good snippets – a few more acrobatic bits, one decent dance piece – but the bulk of the show wound up leaving me feeling… well, cutesy-sick. Or something – let’s just say it rubbed me the wrong way.
To be honest, Poly Hood Cabaret was on the outer fringes of my shortlisted shows; it was only after seeing Fez Fa’anana, Lindah E, and the hoop act in Club Cascadeur that I figured this was worth a shot. The sad thing is that, aside from the fascinating “Tapping” pseudo-doco at the start of the performance, I’d already seen the best bits. Ah well, chalk this one up to experience, then.