F... Fabulous Review @ Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras

Written by Jake Howie
Category: Arts Published: Friday, 21 February 2020 16:53

As a queer boy growing up in the late '80s and early '90s, I was mesmerised by the showbiz sass of variety specials.

From glitzy international spectacles to more humble local versions, I loved the charismatic host, the talented performers, the comic relief and all that came in between (I’m guilty of even loving a never-needed but always-appreciated makeover – don’t judge!). I’ve often thought that the world, particularly the queer arts scene, is craving a renaissance of the variety shows that thrived in past decades. It gives a space for a variety of performers to sparkle and exposes a range of performance styles to unsuspecting audiences.

I was hoping 'F... Fabulous' would deliver on my nostalgic desire for a variety show, and boy did it ever. From the minute the house lights went down, it was a colourful, manic, sometimes bizarre journey into the minds of a diverse group of queer artists. Host Yana Alana opened the show with what can only be described as a powerhouse performance sprinkled in big laughs, bigger notes and even bigger choreography that set the tone for the night. Her innate charisma, genius comic timing and knack for using her body to bring the side-splitting laughs is to be commended.

FFab Yaya Stempler
Image © Yaya Stempler

Throughout the festive frenzy of a show, each performer is given their moment to shine; Krishna Istha provides a charming take on his experience as a trans man that provides many chuckles; drummer Bec Matthews keeps the beat alive throughout the show; Jess Love is a wonderfully unexpected gem who gives as much comedy as she does awe-inspiring moves; Seth Sladen is able to do things most of us can only dream of; Glitter And Snatch provide fantastically entertaining routines in complete unison; and the heartfelt monologue by the Koko Ma$$ gives 'F... Fabulous' a gear shift which makes a good show great.

It is hard to stand out in such an accomplished group of performers, but artist Nicci Wilks manages with ease. Her ever-present character, Mad As F..., provides the biggest laughs of the night. She sings with passion, she dances with purpose, she curses in a way that manages to get funnier and funnier by her character’s sheer rage. No matter how long she is on stage, she leaves you wanting more. I could easily watch a solo show involving her and a giant hula hoop for eternity.

While the calibre of performers is never anything less than pro, 'F... Fabulous' makes you feel like you’ve been invited to watch your best friends play dress up as they go to any lengths to entertain you. It feels wild, it feels unplanned, it feels fresh, and – to no surprise – it feels f...ing fabulous.

★★★★☆

'F... Fabulous' plays Seymour Centre until 23 February.

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