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Close encounters of the cabaret kind


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The self-proclaimed ‘first lady of live drag singing’ Odidiva (alter ego of performer Odidi Mfenyana) returns to Adelaide with Bushwaacking; a high energy show which combines elements of cabaret, dance and comedy to explore the politics of issues such as homophobia and misogyny.

Taking to the stage in a dazzling red dress and heels (the first of many extravagant costume changes) Odidiva’s imposing stage presence commanded attention and there was a palpable feeling of excitement as the music began to play.

A powerhouse voice and impressive vocal range allowed Odidiva to breathe new life into classic songs such as ‘Hey Big Spender’ and the high energy dance routines were indescribable (seriously, I became exhausted just watching them).

Throughout the show Odidiva made several trips into the audience, encouraging us to dance and clap along to each new tune and those in the front row of future shows should be prepared for a very close encounter (one audience member even lost their drink to the outrageous performer).

Bushwaacking also explores what it is like to be gay in modern South Africa and as Odidiva performed two touching original songs a series of newspaper clippings recounting hate crimes and murders in Africa was projected onto a screen; reminding audience members that same sex couples the world over still face many obstacles in their fight for equality.

While the opening night show was plagued with technical glitches and missed cues, its main downfall was the incredibly loud acoustics which, at times, threatened to bring down the roof of Queer Nexus (and burst my eardrums). The music was just too loud for the small room and this, combined with Odidiva’s naturally loud voice created an uncomfortable listening experience.

There were times when I really struggled to understand what the fast talking Odidiva was saying and I seriously hope those microphone distortion issues are corrected quickly as the shows message about embracing diversity should be heard (clearly) by everyone.

While the concept of Bushwaacking was entertaining I’m afraid Odidiva was just a little too flamboyant for this reviewers taste (although any man that can dance that well in heels deserves a round of applause).

Bushwaacking is showing again tonight at the Lion Arts Centre, and on November 27 and 29 as part of the Feast Festival, which continues until November 30.

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