Review: Invisible Cabaret at The Vaults
“For so long, “mental health” has been a taboo subject. You know what else has been (and still can be) taboo? Boobs. Taboobs.”
Ladies, you had my heart at “taboobs”.
Last week I had the pleasure and privilege of going to see the truly lovely Invisible Cabaret in action in their show Let’s Get Visible. The brainchild of Rochelle Thomas and Rosalind Peters – that’s Ferrero Rochelle and Rosie Verbose to you and me – the show aims to “strip mental heath issues of their stigma and make the invisible, visible” and is a feast of music, dance, burlesque and comedy.
Looking at my notes from the show, the list of acts looks like the ramblings of someone deeply confused:
- Silvia Plath dance
- Porn star ukulele
- Pillowcase, well-wishers
- Shaving cream striptease
- Bob the Builder balloons
Now, I could explain what each of these acts really entailed – but, actually, I think it’s more fun to leave it open. Let you, my lovely readers, decide what you think each number was like. Or, a better idea still, you could keep an eye out and go witness some of the bizarre-ity for yourself!
I will, however, tell you about a few of my highlights. First off, Rosie Verbose is terrific as compere. Sweet, welcoming and witty, she was a charming host and great with the audience. But candidly, the main reason I liked her is because she had a bunch of oversize pompoms adorning her head. I love a pompom, I do.
Then there was a comedy lecture on the difference between Borderline Personality Disorder and Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which made me laugh and think in equal measure – and if you don’t think there’s anything which could possibly be funny about such subject matter… well, frankly you’re wrong.
And speaking of funny – dancer-comedienne Tootsie thrilled the audience with an A+ number about self-care which featured both tap dancing (a vastly underrated art form in your average cabaret show – more of this pls) and an enormous glass of wine, which got the biggest whoop of the night.
The stand-out piece for me, however, was a gut-wrenching spoken word act dealing with the topic of disordered eating, performed beautifully by Miss Mustardseed, who later also brought me near to tears with her depiction of Judy Garland.
The show was – for the most part – well put together and well thought-out, with a good range of acts, though some could use a little tightening up. Most importantly, this all-woman spectacle tackles some big issues sensitively, and with great heart. On two occasions I got so choked up it was impossible to applaud at the end, though I left feeling buoyed, rather than maudlin. My lovely Plus One said at the end that she wished she could have seen something similar to this when she was a teen and, I believe the company would agree, there is no greater accolade than that.
Empowering, emotional, and fun – Invisible Cabaret have some rough edges to smooth down, but they are on the path to being a truly vital force in the cabaret world.