Everyone knows a good cabaret show has a bit of grit to it. When it’s not as high-brow as cabaret is expected to be, it’s somehow more enjoyable and often becomes a success with crowds. American performer Deanna Fleysher takes this knowledge and uses it to the extreme in her one-(wo)man show Butt Kapinski.
However, this is the furthest thing from a one woman show – it is an immersive and interactive experience where the audience are the spontaneous co-stars in the show, which even Fleysher doesn’t know where it will go, due to the choose-your-own-adventure narrative style.
Armed with a speech impediment and a desire to direct and star in his own film noir, private eye Kapinski sets out to solve the multiple-murder-mystery before him. Through dynamic narration, the audience is transported to a seedy United States city rife with sinful acts, shady figures and heavily sexual overtones. What follows is a hilarious head-spinning hour of angry paparazzi, prostitutes and pedophiles (just to name a few archetypes) and an engaging score of music and sound effects, all of which the audience bring to life themselves. The only thing Fleysher really brings besides her charismatic character is a costume and clever lighting contraption attached to it that allows her to be seen by the audience as she travels through the theatre space and also develops an excellent sense of mood, whether it be moments of suspense or humour.
Everyone knows in cabaret, a bit of grit can make a hit. With the dirty adult-only humour that comprises the show, it is easy for me to see why this show has been an international award-winning production (but not quite how it fits into the cabaret genre without music?) Overall, a valuable lesson has been learnt from my evening with the PI - when you need a crime solved…or you need a night of simply riotous fun…Butt Kapinski is the (wo)man for the job.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Thumbnail via Adelaide Cabaret Festival website