MICF 2016: Reuben Kaye in PLUGGED

Brilliantly lavish and chaotic cabaret comedy

By Bradley Storer

From the moment he raced into the showroom of The Butterfly Club, Reuben Kaye – Australian-born international cabaret star – was ablaze with demonic energy, clothed in a dazzling sequin dinner jacket and working the crowd from the get-go. After drawing the crowd in with several self-deprecating jabs, Kaye invited us to become ‘plugged’, as per the title of the show, into his world view – and what a wonderful (madcap) world it is.


Kaye is a whirlwind of magnetic charisma, unsubtle self-loathing and show-biz pizzazz with a devilish undertone, all bundled together with a gigantic stage presence and an equally gargantuan voice. Guiding us through an abbreviated version of his origins with songs ranging from Kate Bush and Celine Dion to Charles Aznavour, his stories of a German ballerina mother and her frank advice growing up drew boisterous laughter. His tale of burgeoning sexual awakening at a Balwyn high school is so beautifully written and masterfully delivered that the audience was completely spell bound.

This is cabaret in what is arguably its purest form – controlled anarchy. Kaye expertly handles the crowd and everything that happens within the performance space so well, folding audience members’ dropped drinks and ringing phones into gut-splittingly funny running jokes, that it almost threatens to derail the main thrust of the show. In all honesty though, it is rare and quite electrifying to watch such a professional command a crowd so thoroughly!

My only criticism would be that the focus on the moment-to-moment interaction and play with the audience sometimes is detrimental to the structure of the show, with links between sections becoming blurred and a finale that arrives surprisingly abruptly after what feels like only a short time, but Kaye’s charisma seems more than adequate recompense for these small complaints.

This is an evening of cabaret at its most elemental and anarchic, commanded by a star blazing so bright you will kick and scream for more! Utterly unforgettable and not to be missed!

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 1 Carson Place, Melbourne.

Time: 10pm

Dates: 5th – 17th April

Price: Full $38 Concession $34 Members $31 Group 6+ $30 Tightarse Tuesday $28

Bookings: www.thebutterflyclub.com, (03) 9663 8107, at the door.