The Thailand Ladyboy Superstars ensemble presents a bright visual show of choreographed and mimed disco and torch-song classics.
It struggles gamely against the problem of re-creating a nightclub atmosphere in a circus tent in Adelaide’s Bonython Park. Red velvet curtains covered a high stage and tables are set out in a flat apron on a spongy rubberised surface; two disco lights roam the audience, occasionally flashing in the eyes as it strafes the crowd.
The show is probably best exemplified by the Tina Turner act, mimed to a lengthy live version of “Proud Mary”. They have the wig right, but the performer has neither the physical dimensions nor the bump. She walks across the stage but does not strut; she mimics some of the facial movements but it is a little listless. After several minutes of the Credence classic, we went through the full routine of “Simply the Best”.
Possibly the best idea is the rendition of “I Will Follow Him”, starting off with the performers in nuns’ habits. It is inevitable that the habits will be thrown off at some point, but only down to the kind of outfit they wear for the other numbers.
It must be said that the costumier probably wins the award for the night, followed by the choreographer. But the endless recurrence of the theme of dance numbers wears thin after 40minutes or so. To be honest, I was hoping for something more spontaneous, perhaps a comedy routine or two – some sections where you hear the actual voices of the performers, where they let their personalities bloom into the act.
As a nice night’s entertainment, Dame Edna would be certain to have noted the “colour and movement”; Sandy Stone would have appreciated the “good bright show”; Sir Les may have been interested in other aspects. But I think a few patrons were disappointed by the repetition and the limits on the personalities of the performers.
The pitch of this show is firmly at gay mass culture and if that is your beat, this is your meat. The Adelaide shows are part of a tour, and placed in a nightclub somewhere it might work all right if it was tightened up, with an injection of variety, and maybe a break every half hour.
Thailand Ladyboy Superstars are performing in Bonython Park until October 17.
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