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Glory Box…Paradise | Finucane & Smith

On a miserable Melbourne winter night when public transport fails, puddles lurk for the unsuspecting pedestrian and the skies are determined to weep; there seems little choice but to find solace a midst scarlet lanterns. Luckily, Finucane & Smith’s fan-furling stiletto strutting magic concocting troupe do more than just provide solace – they create a mesmerizing world of cabaret at its best.

The atmosphere at fortyfivedownstairs was the perfect combination of glamour, music and pulsating sex appeal; and considering the show is titled Glory Box…Paradise, this seems reasonably appropriate.

A night of cabaret by experienced performers and provocateurs replete with circus tricks, dramatic monologues, fantastical costumes and some excellent choreography, made the collective whole orchestrated by Finucane & Smith a very entertaining night.

Moira Finucane is to be lauded for the charismatic dynamo that she is. Unwavering in her commitment to expose and exude raw femininity she has remarkable stage presence, a valuable skill especially as on the night sound problems meant much of the words were garbled. Sultry and sexy her variety of work reveals an expansive repertoire with some iconic classic performances including the grand milk smattering finale.

Tokyo Terawatt Yumi Umiumare only performs two solo pieces but they are exceptionally crafted with detail to attention and pace that creates riveting performance. While the show is jam-packed with unforgettable moments there are clearly some acts that are better than other’s. Ursula Martinez’s superficial red handkerchief show is formulaic and unfortunately while Jess Love’s circus tricks are deft and skilfull, they seem to be shyly clichéd in comparison with the grotesque and macabre extravaganza set out by the creators.

The music and visuals are a feast for the senses. There seems to be a little of everything from underground Japanese techno beats to disco and rock-n-roll to music hall; and while each performer’s strengths vary, it is a perfectly arranged collection of work to stimulate, titillate (let’s be honest) but also to engage. Sarah Ward is an absolute knock-out and her incredible rendition of Hot Stuff is the perfect party-pumping anthem to end the night.

Fortyfivedownstairs is the ideal venue for Finucane & Smith’s collection of surrealistic episodes and with a number of brand new acts – this show will undoubtedly be a winter favourite. No need for looking glasses to step back in time, the magic all starts when you take that first step down the stairs.

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