Perhaps the only thing more gorgeous that Christie Whelan is the new Sydney cabaret review at which she is performing.

The Raval, Sydney
Luckiest Productions

Friday, October 9

Christie WhelanPerhaps the only thing more gorgeous that Christie Whelan is the new Sydney cabaret venue at which she is performing.

The Raval in Surry Hills – part of the Macquarie Hotel – is a beautiful cabaret room, more spacious than the cluttered Bar Me at Kings Cross but more intimate than the open and oddly shaped Statement room. It is a New York-style room with plenty of tables, comfortable seats and excellent bar service.

Whelan’s show Tegrity is a fun way to open the venue to cabaret/theatre audiences. The ‘tribute’ to Britney Spears is littered with deliberate and hilarious clutz and of course some memorable Spears numbers, all transformed into cabaret style.

But before I go on, can I rave about the venue for just another minute? Brilliant sound, wait stuff who understand what they are doing and don’t interrupt the show mid-song and a generally good atmosphere that keeps out the sound from the pub downstairs.

Cabaret has apparently been dying in Sydney for the last decade but venues come along every now and again that give it life. In the Raval, Sydney has a venue that will hopefully be around for a long time to come. It is stylish, classy and a true cabaret room. With good management, it could become a staple of the Sydney theatre scene.

Whelan is an accomplished performer, having appeared in a number of musicals, but cabaret is a new task altogether. Indeed, it is even tougher when it’s not about party pieces and your history of lost loves, but is instead a take-off of somebody else. You run the risk of, to put it simply, falling flat on your face.

Whelan exceeds in her Spears take off. The show ranges from funny send-offs of Spears, to the serious side of her personal failings. What is it like to grow up with the world watching? What is it like to go shopping, and have cameras clicking at every second? Whelan’s show is as much a recognition of the tough life Spears has had as much as it is a send-up of her popcorn chart songs and personal ups and downs.

The tall, beautiful – oh let’s cut the crap and call her sexy – Whelan delivers a hilarious, clever and polished performance that while not high art, is certainly entertaining.

Check it out not only for the brilliance of Whelan but for the new, exciting room too.

Until October 24. Bookings: www.moshtix.com.au.

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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