I was worrying that 2014 was going to be a poor year for cabaret. A date with Bernadette and Victy changed my mind. All it takes is a bit of sexual tension.
The first challenge was finding the venue. Website says “Underbelly, Bristo Square” – which we know well. It’s actually in a sub-venue called Topside which is around the corner and across the road from Bristo Square. Snake around the back of the Pleasance Dome, cross the curvy road and you’ll be pleased to discover a modern venue with wonderful lighting and superbly tiered seating.
This is a cabaret so don’t expect the tiered rows of seats to keep you safe from Bernadette. She’ll crawl over the rows of chairs and other audience members should the urge to wrap her arms around your head and snuggle you into her bosom come to her. Much to Victy’s annoyance, such an audience crawling urge comes to Bernadette often.
It’s the half-male-half-female Victor Victoria who starts to stage. It’s a great start to the show if you’ve never seen Victy with her half-moustache before. You’ll suss very quickly that she oozes with musical talent too.
While Victy is distracting you, Bernadette is creeping up from behind. Don’t worry; Bernadette plays second fiddle to no-one and knows how to make an appearance.
From there we’ve three main trends; some strong musical performance, comedy and molesting the audience. The audience enjoys it but generally hope they never fall under the gaze of the predatory Bernadette.
It’s the music that impressed me the most. Songs are cleverly constructed, engaging, funny and act as the way to drive the plot forward. They’re not musical interludes, they are musical storytelling. This gives Sexual Tension a natural flow and tempo – something I’ve found missing from other cabaret shows this year. You can’t sit back, relax and enjoy the show as that’s not something Bernadette would likely allow but you can hop on for the ride and cling on for the whirlwind tour of the couple’s lives. By “couple” I mean, of course, flatmates who just happen to share a bed for warmth and cost but who are clearly not dating.
Overall? It may take a spot of courage but Sexual Tension is well worth experiencing. Man-up and give Bernadette and Victor Victoria some of your time.