For one sensational night only, cabaret legend Dusty Limits graced the stage of a very chilly Republic venue on Brighton’s seafront. With an opening number that cried for him to be aborted before he was born, it became immediately apparent that this was no ordinary show.
With an opening number that cried for him to be aborted before he was born, it became immediately apparent that this was no ordinary show.
His darkly morbid cabaret was more than a bit of slap and tickle, as he jibed at Thatcherite politics and outed a cardinal who had stood so staunchly against gay marriage. This was a show with some bite. Introduced as an album launch, with the ever so talented Michael Roulston and his band, each original song was witty and well performed. Lyrics were occasionally a little too rushed to be catchy but the music of the band was faultless.
There were moments where he lingered too long with his back to the audience but this was forgiven when, between songs, he berated a particularly annoying table in the crowd who having then apologised, were simply answered with: “Don’t be sorry, just kill yourself”.
Reunion was a particular highlight as he outlined the peculiarities of his family tree; it was perfectly performed and an absolute feat, as he rhymed every line in quick succession without missing a single note.
Dusty himself is charming and an exceptional singer. Between songs his morbid quips about alcoholism and the life of a performer were darkly endearing and really contextualised his uniquely-styled jazz cabaret. As an album launch, the format was quite simple but each original song avoided the evening becoming repetitive.
As a seasoned Edinburgh Fringe performer, he has definitely paid his Fringe dues, a point he referenced in one particular skit. This was applauded by the majority of the audience but for those who haven’t partaken, they just sat confused by the string of in-jokes that he retold.
It was also a brilliant piece of programming by the venue with the show’s setting being a vintage-style Spiegeltent that gave the illusion of being in a Weimar Republic Berlin, where debauchery was rife and sins of the soul were highly encouraged.
It’s a shame that it was only a flying visit for the Fringe as this immensely charming show and the ever charismatic, if not a little self-deprecating, star Dusty Limits entertained a captivated audience, whose whistles and cheers of gratitude solidified it as a most enjoyable event.