The IsoLate Late Show: Live! (The Little Red Company)
Logan Entertainment Centre
Surprisingly, only a small percentage of the audience at “The IsoLate Late Show: Live!” at Logan Entertainment centre have actually seen the juggernaut success which entertained over 300 000 fans online during lockdown through Friday night live streams (joined by some famous friends) on The Little Red Company’s Facebook page. By the end of its #irl in-real-life celebration of all things cabaret, it is clear that everyone, however, is a fan.
Following sold-out shows at this year’s Brisbane Festival, the band has regrouped with a stellar line-up of special guests, including all your favourites from the original series Rachel Everett-Jones, Irena Lysiuk, Tom Oliver and Lai Utovou, along with Michael Manikus on keys, Mik Easterman on drums, OJ Newcomb on bass and Jason McGreggor on guitar.
In person, the essence of the powerhouse cabaret remains central from the opening ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ number from cabaret super couple Naomi Price and Luke Kennedy. And even with socially distanced seating and restrictions on audience dance, the communal experience of live music and theatre remains infectious, thanks to the energy of all performers as numbers pep up with Jason McGregor punching out a sizzling ‘Need You Tonight’. And Tom Oliver’s ripping ‘(Baby I’ve Got You) On My Mind’ in a kinda sorta nod to the AFL grand final occurring elsewhere in the South East sees him revelling in the change of pace with McGregor crunching its rock riff on guitar. It’s a banger of a show that also sees Price and Kennedy do what they do best with audience favourite numbers from their individual cabaret shows “Rumour Has It” and “From Johnny to Jack”.
As always, the show is full of interesting moments of light and shade, including when Rachel Everett-Jones delivers a tender take of Guns N’ Roses’ monster hit ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ in lullaby tribute to Baby Zion, the weekly star of the online show, and a later anthemic tribute of ‘Respect’ from Price to all the unstoppable women making a difference in the world. Collaboration and a shared stage are always at the core of Little Red Company shows and this is seen from the outset, when, with a little help from his friends, Utovou bursts forth with a tremendous early vocal and visual highlight in a Baz Luhrmann style ‘Young Hearts Run Free’, making us all feel as if we are joining in disco celebration at the costumed Capulet feast. The live version of the show also sees Price, as the show’s host, bantering with the audience with her usual quick-witted humour, and also a segment of audience requests which sees Kennedy revisit an earlier ‘I’m Too Sexy’ invitation.
The Little Red Company continues to position itself as a tour de force within the arts industry. More than this, however, their advocacy for the necessity of the arts is a reminder to everyone about its vital role within our collective human experience. And “The IsoLate Late Show: Live!”, while at its most wonderful in real life, is also a reminder that we can continue to enjoy its online versions.