Bad Luck

Billed as part cabaret, part wannabe warehouse rave, my expectations were prepared. An industrial soundtrack heralds Black’s arrival on stage, as she opens with a perceptive and political spoken word/rap piece. Drawing the audiences’ attention to ‘riots, recessions and referendums’, Black creates an atmosphere of discerning merriment.

An eclectic mix of comedy, cabaret and song

Bad Luck features an eclectic mix of comedy, cabaret and song. Much of the songs have been written by Black, and are sung to the backdrop of her classically trained piano compositions. There’s a Lily Allan-esque quality to some of these, and her piano cover of Faithless’s Insomnia is a masterstroke of ingenuity. However Black’s voice doesn’t work with most of the songs she sings. There’s no depth to her vocals, and a mediocrity to her singing talents in general. This is juxtaposed with her expert aptitude on the piano, and just doesn’t hit the heady heights she’s aiming for.

There are moments of Bad Luck which are clutching desperately for brilliance, however it’s just a fraction out of reach. A few cabaret tricks are peppered into the performance, which were a weak aspect of the show. A cotton bud in her nose, and a party popper let off in her mouth. There’s a general lack of cohesion and theme to the narrative, and rather than being the promised 'wannabe warehouse rave' (how much fun does that sound!), there’s sporadic reference to general parties which is steeped in mediocrity.

An inexplicable interlude comes in the form of Marv Radio, a drum and base artist who performs a ten minute beat box piece. Black was absent from the stage for the whole duration of this, which felt like a prolonged period of time for her to be missing from her own show.

Black’s strengths are in her off-the-cuff adlibs. She’s tremendously and effortlessly funny, and her audience interaction was successful. They enthusiastically did her bidding, and were on board with her the whole way throughout. The bass guitarist, Erictric, was also a highlight. A bit more finesse to the theme and a refining of her art will elevate this show. Overall, Bad Luck aims for brilliance but achieves mediocrity.

Reviews by Jodie McVicar

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Warning: award-winning Laurie Black's Bad Luck is louder, brighter and bad luckier than ever. Part cabaret, part wannabe warehouse rave, expect live music, comedy and more. Winner of Best Emerging Artist and weekly Best Music at Adelaide Fringe 2018. Bad luck if you miss out! Highly flammable. Keep locked up and out of reach of children. Wear suitable protective clothing. Safety third. 'A triumph of contemporary cabaret' (Kryztoff.com). 'Amanda Palmer better watch her back' (BroadwayBaby.com). 'A mixture of NIN, Tim Minchin and camped up cabaret show' (@TombolaPlaysPop).

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