Complete Reviews

Cabaret Tingel-Tangel

The Age - Joel Crotty

Alice Carter and Tania Kyriakou, the Soubrettes, are women with attitude. Supported by an instrumental quartet, these women belt out songs that are liberally covered with a sweet-and-sour sarcastic sauce.

They sing about the pleasures of casual sex, their dislike of sensitive new age guys, and their desire to be drug addicts. Their song about poverty is wonderfully presented in mock operatic style and French aristocratic wigs. The instrumental ensemble is integral to the humor rather than mere backdrop.

Cabaret Tingel-Tangel is a very slick production with absolutely no padding. The vocal bridges between the songs are short, pithy and quickly set the scene for the next tirade of political incorrectness.

Each and every phrase is golden, though this was occasionally hampered by the band's exuberance.

Sunday Age - 'Devilish fun, and an angel tale' by Steven Carroll, 6 May, 2001

Cabaret Tingel-Tangel, featuring The Soubrettes (Alice Carter and Tania Kyriakou) and directed by Michael Dalley, is playing in a cocktail lounge tucked away in a lane just off Russell Street. You might easily walk past without noticing the place, but it's worth taking the short stroll up that lane and checking out this low-budget, entertaining and often cheeky production.

Wearing suitably vaudevillian costumes, Carter and Kyriakou cover a broad range of topics in the show's 15 songs, all of which they co-wrote. And the songs are very, very good. The melodies are nimble, often memorable, and the lyrics are nifty, irreverent and funny in the way satirical songs should be.

Love, sex, politics, drugs, fashion and hair are just some of the subjects they delve into with a smile, a wink, and a good hook line. Some of the stand-out tunes include Man from Sydney, about a young Melbourne woman's fatal attraction for a chap from the little apple, and Drug Addict, a doo-wop number about a young girl who dreams of becoming an addict. Sounds questionable but it's actually a very funny send-up of the adolescent romantic's attraction to the world of Baudelairian decadence you don't find in the suburbs.

More overtly political songs include Americans, a catalogue of anti-imperialist complaints delivered with a tongue-in-cheek spirit of which Randy Newman would heartily approve; Poverty Operetta, sung while the women wear Louis XIV wigs, though its expression of indifference to poverty could equally apply to today's nouveau riche; Real Woman, which looks at suburban ennui; and Innuendo, a music hall tribute to Benny Hill-style comedy.

This is a fun night even if some bits of the show need smoothing out. The patter between numbers gets off to a shaky and hesitant start, but soon the chat flows naturally and amusingly.

At the risk of sounding like a judge on New Faces I also suggest that fine-tuning the balance with the backing band would also improve the vocals, which tend to sound muffled on the lower notes.

Rating: ***1/2

Stage Left - Aaron Jelbart

Cabaret is alive and well in Melbourne, at least on Sunday nights. On a tiny stage in the Up Top Cocktail Lounge off Russell Street, The Soubrettes strut their stuff in corsets and stripey stockings, the universally accepted cabaret couture. With a delicious medley of songs, satire and sass, Cabaret Tingel-Tangel is a knockout.

The Soubrettes are Tania Kyriakou and Alice Carter, part of Short Attention Span Theatre. Its recent production, Hamlet in One Hour, made a triumphant return to the Comedy Festival this year. For Cabaret Tingel-Tangel, the talented twosome are joined by a tight and snazzy band comprising keyboards, drums, saxophone, clarinet and violin.

Kyriakou and Carter sing and dance up a storm in this show, switching pastiche styles as often as they do wigs. Carter is an accomplished pianist and for a couple of songs turns her hand (and, somewhat startlingly, her feet) to the ivories.

The Soubrettes perform original compositions, smart and funny ditties that tackle material as diverse as feminism, politics, hair and shoplifting. One number, a song-with-actions on a subject to which very few songs are devoted, had the audience literally gasping with laughter. A lament to the demise of innuendo as a form of humour was complete with a Benny Hill-esque chase through the audience.

Their material is hilarious, and Kyriakou and Carter perform with a rapport born of longtime familiarity. They have been working and writing together for twelve years, and their easy patter and teamwork is what makes Cabaret Tingel-Tangel so delightful.

So grab a drink and comfy armchair in the Up Top Cocktail Lounge, to enjoy the saucy pleasures of Cabaret Tingel-Tangel. The Soubrettes, their band and their songs are just wonderful.

Adelaide Advertiser - David Bradbury, 11 March, 2002

Two saucy sirens put subjects as diverse as infatuation, bigotry and innuendo to song in this rollickingly funny show.

The Soubrettes, Alice Carter and Tania Kyriakou, are not only great comics but also wonderfully talented singers.

With lines such as "Say no to drugs, you don't get what you pay for anyway... like dating agencies", the pair delighted the audience with an all-too-short performance.


Threeweeks (arts publication from Edinburgh) - JRW

These girls are truly fabulous! They combine traditional music hall with a large shot of Muriel's Wedding and throw in some topical humour for good measure. The format mixes comedy, audience interaction and fantastically rude songs, ranging from a lament on the demise of innuendo to an instructive ditty on how men ought to behave in bed. However, despite the risqué subject-matter, the girls remain frothy and silly, and manage never to descend into tawdriness or the multitude of nob-gags so beloved of many comedy shows. They are blessed with excellent voices, which allow them to satirise a variety of musical styles, juxtaposing the bitter and the sweet with great comedy timing. A perfect girls' night out.

Threeweeks rating: 4/5