the swagger and confidence to work the sedate crowd into a suitable display of enthusiasm
Ali McGregor is cabaret royalty, having started her career with Opera Australia before running away to join the circus as an original cast member of La Clique. She has the swagger and confidence that makes for an excellent compere for an evening’s entertainment and knows how to work the sedate crowd into a suitable display of enthusiasm for each intro.
Our first act is Carla Lippis who bounds onto the stage with real energy and spectacularly performs her classic soul songs with the excellent house band. She’s clearly having a great time; her performance entertains and she certainly makes a few folk in the audience note down the time and location of her own show (Counting House, 15:30).
One of the UKs best comedy magicians is next on the bill. The audience are a bit flat but there’s no way Pete Firman is going to let that stop him and he makes it through his set with his patented banterific style that’s less about the magic trick and more about the journey.
Our final act is the ever-wonderful duo Lords of Strut. They enter as a priest offering bread for sacrament and as Jesus who offers absolution by being pelted by the audience with said bread. This quickly descends into an orgy of flagellation as several audience members are invited to flog Jesus with pool noodles. It’s just as weird as it sounds, it involves a Clingfilm mankini and it’s utterly wonderful.
Late night cabaret can be a strange beast to review at the Fringe as you’re dealing with an ever-changing lineup and the experience will differ from night to night. Often one can focus in on the skill of the compere or the style of programming but The Supper Club casts a very wide net in its acts and features a different host for every show. Each guest is easily a four or five star act and yet the show as a whole doesn’t feel consistent. Some tech issues and a few clunky moments as acts exit and enter manage to drop the mood that McGregor works so hard to maintain.
If you’re looking for a late night revue that can guarantee some of the best acts on the Fringe then The Supper Club is the place to be; the night I saw somehow felt less than the sum of its parts.