Female spies are a largely overlooked, misrepresented and underestimated part of history, but cabaret performer JoJo Bellini took to the stage at Sweet Werks to rectify this.
Bellini’s rambunctious personality and booming vocals fill up the stage.
Bellini performed a one-woman cabaret show about female spies in history. Mentioning a number of prolific women such as Noor Inayat Khan and Nancy Wake, she offered well-researched anecdotes about each woman, before performing popular songs like Footloose, changing the lyrics to tell the story of each in a humourous way.
On a small stage accompanied by just a martini set and a large green suitcase from which Bellini regularly pulled out props, the set up, much like the show, is unpretentious. But Bellini’s rambunctious personality and booming vocals fill up the stage.
Bellini makes the audience feel involved from the beginning, with simple techniques such as making eye contact with almost everyone in the room throughout, to more direct activity like handing out tennis paddles and toy guns to knock plastic balls at her while she belts out Hit Me With Your Best Shot.
The audience was in hysterics from the start to the last line delivered, as Bellini is clearly a natural when it comes to comedy and performance. Some of the jokes were a little clichéd, and there were a few moments where the music would start a second or two too late, which interrupted the overall flow, but Bellini took it in her stride and soldiered on enthusiastically.
With the show a part of Women’s Week, it was genuinely interesting to hear the stories of these forceful females who defied all expectations. It is evident that Bellini has great admiration for these women, as we all should, and although its humourous take is not the typical way to learn such intense parts of history, her performance sure makes it enjoyable.