REVIEW: Malthouse Theatre Presents BLAK CABARET

Dynamic satire and stirring music meet

By Margaret Wieringa

Theatre under the stars. How delightful. The forecourt of the Malthouse Theatre has been transformed into an outdoor cabaret venue complete with small tables and a bar to one side. Relax, enjoy a drink and before you know it, the first group of performers are introduced; musicians Kutcha Edwards, Deline Briscoe, Bart Willoughby and Emma Donovan. But before you can get too comfortable with the tunes, the doors will spring open and there stands Queen Constantina Bush (Kamahi Djordon King), the first settler of the land, to claim this terra nullius.

Blak Cabaret_Photo Credit Pia Johnson

Queen Constantina and her sidekick, Nikki (Nikki Ashby) have taken rule of this country with the noble goal of saving the indigenous white population from themselves. Over a series of vignettes, their humour allows the audience to recognise just some of the unforgettable and unforgivable historical events of Australia by flipping the roles. Yes, it is political, and it is also hilarious.

And then.

“Close your eyes for just a minute. Imagine this place three hundred years ago.” In just a sentence, Edwards takes the audience from the laughter to a moving song with heart-tearing harmonies. And then, before we know it, reggae beats start, and then a kick-arse rap from Ashby. And throughout is King as Queen Constantina, in magnificent outfits, bringing back the laughs, and not pulling any punches.

Blak Cabaret is part of Southbank’s inaugural SummerSalt Outdoor Arts Festival, There are events happening until the 21st of February all around the area, but make sure you get to this wonderful show. Also, get there early; there is a beautiful barbeque that you can enjoy under the stars before the show starts. Oh, and don’t forget that it’s Melbourne, so take a jumper or two.

Blak Cabaret is playing at the Malthouse Theatre Forecourt until February 22. Tickets are $30-$60 and are available at or call 9685 5111