Review: The Lost Cabaret – Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2022 (VIC)

Hosted by Jeromaia Detto and Dougie Baldwin

Review by Justin Clarke

A depraved, strangely erotic, and unexpected hour of comedy awaits you at The Lost Cabaret. Crowned (or self-crowned?) the Best Alternative Comedy Cabaret in Australia, you won’t know what zany acts will enter through the doors of Collingwood’s Lantern Lounge.

Set in the basement of a Collingwood pub, you may feel uneasy descending the stairs, passing the toilets, and eventually sitting in the intimate room. Rest assured, you’re in safe (and somewhat erratic) hands. Seemingly setting up the show, Detto and Baldwin stand on stage in shorts so small they make me miss the days that I too could have pulled off that look. The pair’s chemistry was already clear and their comic timing infectious as they tried to silence the music in time. Detto set the foundations of the show with a bombastic Italian accent that would make Jared Leto blush, and Baldwin offering nothing but meowing at the audience.

Each night at The Lost Cabaret offers six acts for your enjoyment. These range from the surreal, to the weird, to the unhinged – but all offer their own spin on the alternative cabaret format.

On top of the double act of Detto and Baldwin, we were witness to Angela Fouhy’s short but hilarious stint of interrogation without eye contact. “Don’t look at me,” she repeated in a Gollum-like voice while four inches away from your face, asking if you’d seen lost persons.

Jett Bond and Aiden Willcox’s “Two Guys, One Shirt” routine escalated the wackiness of the evening with alternating reasons why each needed to swap the one shirt; this was entirely off the cuff insanity. Afterwards, Cult Fish offered an act in sequinned spandex telling tales of a fish fascinated with the humans in the room, even her own Mum! These acts did not offer the same pizazz the rest did and seemed like last minute additions.

Perhaps the act with most clarity was Patrick Collins’ stand-up routine. With a demanding persona, an effective use of voice over that was expertly timed, her squirrel in a bag gag brought big belly laughs from the crowd. Reflective of the style of comedy that Aunty Donna has become famous for, this was a real standout.

Then, we came to Dani Cabs’ “Poncho” and boy oh boy, this was comedy on the edge. After a scramble to get out of the corner of the room, subsequently knocking over half the chairs in the room and smashing a glass (this wasn’t the first time, we were told), Poncho led us on a seductive journey of hip thrusts exposing a bulging package underneath his leopard printed poncho. Without giving too much detail, let’s just say I’ll never be able to look at or eat an orange the same way again.

A maniacal mess of fun, The Lost Cabaret features an eclectic cast of performers that may make you cringe, others that make you howl with laughter, and some that will make you too shy to tell your Mum about. This is alternative comedy at its definition – messy, erratic, but altogether controlled. Take a trip outside of Melbourne CBD this festival and go experience it for yourself.

Reviewer rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Lost Cabaret plays at the Basement Blackbox Theatre – Lantern Lounge, and at Storyville until 17 April. Find tickets from $15 – $25 here.

Follow The Lost Cabaret on Instagram @lostcabaret.international. Find Dougie Baldwin @dougiebaldwin1.

Jeromaia Detto’s individual show Mush is coming to the Sydney Comedy Festival on 7 May. Find tickets here.

Angela Fouhy’s Dank Slimeball, Patrick Collins’ I’m Not a Mime and Dani Cabs’ Poncho: Keep it Up all play at the MICF until 24 April.

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