The Really Real Housewife of Surfers Paradise (Lisa Lachelle)
Brisbane Powerhouse, Visy Theatre
The Real Mercedes DeLuca-Jones (Lisa LaCelle) is glamourous, fabulous and filthy rich. So when The Real Housewives franchise announces open auditions for a Gold Coast reality show, she sets upon a mission to be invited to join the cast. It’s only a matter of time; she just like Gina Liano, apart from the whole lawyer thing. For future fans of the fictional franchise, it’s totes exciting… infectiously so with the Visy Theatre busting at its seams with many liquored up ladies out to share its good time tell of Mercedes’ desperate attempt to hang onto her youth and make her mark in the world.
Act One begins as a casual chat, with Mercedes outlining her quest and sharing stories of her George Clooney desires, her hubby Gregory and home-stay exchange students. When in Act Two, the focus changes to tell of Gregory with an exchange student, the show becomes all the better with second-half highlights including her musical explanation of how a cockroach featured as catalyse for her marriage breakdown and determination to arise from loneliness to make a second sashay coming.
Unfortunately, however, the one woman comedy cabaret is more comedy than cabaret. And when it isn’t, there’s still not a lot of singing with only occasional song snippets of recognisable but reappropriated tunes. The comedy is strong throughout thanks to the work’s well-written script, peppered with pop culture references and euphemistic speak. As musical therapist to the middle-aged misfit, accompanist Peta Wilson adds to the comedy with reactions and interjections alike and LaCelle is committed in performance at Mercedes, bringing lots of funny to her over-the-top character’s every little nuance and easily moving off script to respond to some of the rudeness of audience’s disruptions. At times, however, timing could we better managed to allow for the laughter that often ends up rolling over forthcoming jokes.
Although not the slickest of shows, “The Really Real Housewife of Surfers Paradise” has a real spirit to cater for the glam and ordinary folk alike. As a comedy it is great; as a cabaret, not quite as much, not that its late show crowd minded when caught in the comic chaos of Mercedes’ crumbling world and quest for reality show salvation.