Review: The Shuffle Show (The Chippendale Hotel)

elenagabrielleVenue: The Chippendale Hotel (Chippendale NSW), Sep 10 – 13, 2014
Playwright: Grant Busé, Elena Gabrielle
Director: Grant Busé, Elena Gabrielle
Cast: Grant Busé, Elena Gabrielle
Image by 3 Fates Media

Theatre review
The Shuffle Show is a cabaret performance in which Grant Busé and Elena Gabrielle play devoted employees of an Apple store. There are many opportunities for sending up these curiously culty creatures of retail, and the duo makes full use of their every quirk to formulate a show that pays homage to the mega brand, and to deliver ceaseless laughter and amusement. “1000 songs in 1 hour” is their tagline, which seems implausible at first, but just five minutes into their stage time and we become convinced that Busé and Gabrielle’s talent and flair can comfortably achieve more than what our mere mortal minds can conceive.

Both performers are effectively multi-skilled, having written and directed the piece themselves to showcase their “triple threat” abilities. Gabrielle sings extraordinary operatic notes, then teases with a burlesque style number, and does a surprising “wigga” impression with a medley of rap classics. The variety of the show’s format allows Gabrielle to explore a delightful breadth of competencies, and witnessing her mischievous exhilaration in embracing different styles is truly joyous. Busé provides accompaniment on his acoustic guitar for virtually the entire duration, and is equally accomplished a singer and comedian. He does not display as great a range as his counterpart, but is consistently funny and tenaciously present. The strength in chemistry and timing between the two is the third star of the show, and their concluding extended dance segment is as unexpected and ridiculous as it is deliriously entertaining.

Through the journey of a thousand songs, we come to realise not just the pervasiveness of pop culture, but also the thoroughness at which our worlds are penetrated by technology and consumption. Steve Jobs is elevated from genius to saint, and we are powerless in the face of immense corporate voracity. The age of the iProduct continues to proliferate and resistance seems increasingly futile, but artistic talent is the one thing left that Goliath has to fear.

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