This gender, race and sexual politics canvas stretches across the entire platform of the performances, from the sharp opening patter of Fez Fa’anana which happily offends everyone equally, through the “pretty doesn’t mean dumb” antics of the cheeky Louis Briggs and the vignettes with an increasingly more naked Lucky Charm (Lachy Shelley) to the various satirical and ironic numbers involving the remarkable Dallas Dellaforce, whose take on gender roles in society is razor sharp and strikingly bold.
Happily, Oh! Carol provides a thoroughly entertaining and exuberant cross-section of Sedaka’s work. There are the hits but also lesser remembered works, and truly no number in the playlist is dull or unworthy. For the most part, the songs covered were co-written with Greenfield, and the lively, interesting patter tells the story of the highs and lows of the Sedaka/Greenfield partnership with wry objectivity and respectful affection.
Nikki Aitken, with pianist Simona Budd, performed Show Off. Aitken is a widely recognized artist in Australia where she has won awards for her cabaret programmes and to which she will be returning soon in the Australian tour of Amity Dry’s Mother, Wife and the Complicated Life. She is also a composer in her own right, both of cabaret numbers and of a new musical GO!, which received a fine first workshop outing last summer at the Camden Fringe Festival, as reviewed here by Stephen Collins. On the basis of this performance she will surely consolidate that reputation further.