Review: Little Egypt’s Speakeasy (Grand Moustache / Django Bar)

grandmoustacheVenue: Camelot Lounge (Marrickville NSW), Nov 6 – 9, 2014
Writers: Luke Escombe, Lucian McGuiness, Dominic Santangelo
Director: Lucian McGuiness
Cast: Brian Campeau, Kelly Ann Doll, Amos Elroy, Luke Escombe, Danica Lee, Lucian McGuiness, Katie-Elle Reeve, Dominic Santangelo, Damien Slingsby, Elana Stone, Aaron Flower, Nick Hoorweg, Evan Mannell, Mathew Ottignon
Image by Frank Farrugia

Theatre review
The term speakeasy refers to the illegal trade of alcohol during the American “prohibition” period from 1920 to 1933, and Little Egypt is the name of an exotic dancer from even earlier in the twentieth century. Lucian McGuiness’ show Little Egypt’s Speakeasy draws inspiration from both, to recreate the setting of a nightclub filled with sounds and sights from the 1950s. McGuiness is leader of the handsomest band in town, with four kooky vocalists, and a beatnik MC who provides the thread that helps us imagine the narrative that the show is vaguely built upon. Incorporated flawlessly are two burlesque dancers and the band leader’s comedic brother Don who owns the joint.

There are some stellar performances in the piece. The dancers Kelly Ann Doll and Danica Lee are both scintillating and drop dead gorgeous. The MC and narrator Amos Elroy has the deepest voice imaginable from a baby face, with a use of words and humour that is transportative and quite magnificent. Singer Elana Stone is vibrant in personality and in voice, and her male counterpart Brian Campeau is simply divine with a Chet Baker style sensuality, only with much stronger pipes. McGuiness is star of the show with an extraordinarily sharp presence that exemplifies the irresistible sexual allure of the entire evening.

Don and his club’s story do not quite take hold, but the introduction of a through line for a cabaret show is ambitious and astute. It is almost human nature to want to follow a plot, and the experience is certainly enriched with Don and the MC bringing cohesion to the many separate items presented. Little Egypt’s Speakeasy brings a taste of the bohemian life to Sydney, and it is delicious. |

5 Questions with Lucian McGuiness

lucianmcguinessWhat is your favourite swear word?
Kutwijf. It’s Dutch, and very satisfying though sexist. Look it up.

What are you wearing?
About 5 extra kilos, a fine salt, pepper and ginger moustache and some clothes I guess. For the show I dress the moustache up and wear some really spanking outfits from local and imported ingredients. That’s when I look my best.

What is love?
My daughter. She’s consistently the coolest, smartest and most beautiful person I know.

What was the last show you saw, and how many stars do you give it?
The Shadow King at Brisbane Festival last month. There’s a bit at the end that ties the Shakespearean morals to Aboriginal rights in Australia that moves you. 4 stars.

Is your new show going to be any good?
My new show, quite frankly, is one of the best things going. All previous incarnations of this ensemble have sent the audience into a fit, and the Speakeasy takes all that and makes it bigger, tighter, better and funner. Funner is a word, right?

Lucian McGuiness is writing, directing and performing in Little Egypt’s Speakeasy.
Show dates: 6 – 9 Nov, 2014
Show venue: Django Bar, Camelot Lounge