Spiegel’esque – Italian Forum, Leichardt

Set in the historical glory of the oldest Spiegeltent in the world, Spiegel’esque is a fun and eclectic variety show. Currently playing at the Italian Forum in Leichardt, is a taste of traditional vaudeville infused with elements of burlesque and circus (and all the raunchiness these genres demand). 

Wayne Scott Kermond, the emcee for the evening, begins with a number reminiscent of the emcee in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club – and the similarities do not stop there. It’s a treat for fans of the Kander and Ebb show, like it has come to life in beautiful, 97 year old, fully transportable tent. 

Wayne Scott Kermond. Photo by Michael Anderson.

As emcee, Kermond  keeps us entertained and, crucially, keeps the show moving, creating seemingly-effortless transitions between each act. His flirtatious ad-libbing established a great rapport between himself and the crowd right from the beginning, coaxing a laugh from even the most corny and trite jokes.

Kermond’s final performance of ‘Mr Bojangles’, however, is where his true talent really shines; he escapes the caricature of the emcee and reveals what a gifted performer he is in his own right.

Wayne Scott Kermond is just one member of the Kermond family (a well-known theatrical dynasty) responsible for bringing this production to life. As director, co-choreographer and co-executive producer, Katie Kermond breathes life into this production, particularly through her energetic choreography (in conjunction with co-choreographer, Mashum Liberta), that demonstrates a very  clever in the utilization of minimal space. Featuring everything from tap, to aerial, to male pole dancing and even to river dancing, the show really was a sensory delight, particularly for dance lovers.

Photo by Michael Anderson.

 Zan Kermond, Wayne and Katie’s son, features as a tap brother alongside Dylan Mahoney. Wayne’s, “lovely ladies” (Kate Wilson, Peta Anderson, Sammy Jo and Ebony Wright) offer the great technique and entertainment value desired as they perform in routines as diverse as a tribute to Madonna to a number dressed in balloons.

Angelique Brown and Chris Talbot are stunning as they move through a range of skillfully mastered styles including aerial, pole and hoop work.

Finally, Andrew Freeborn on piano proves a talented musician and an actor with great comic timing.Unfortunately, Freeborn is the most under-utilised cast member; his one number lifted the calibre of the show.  

This isn’t high art. It’s a variety show in a traveling theatrical tent, perfect for laughter, but not much depth. Speigel’esque gives us the gift of a local spiegeltent – aside from the couple we usually see at Sydney Festival – and its potential for solo performances and cabaret in the future is promising.



Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and was the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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