Risqué Revue : Ménage à Trois, Anyone?

Risqué Revue

Slide Lounge, 41 Oxford Street Darlinghurst

Every Wednesday night

Reviewed by Ron Lee

Admittedly, I didn’t know what to expect when I was invited to see Risqué Revue at Slide, but the pictures on the website made the venue look a bit decadent and under maintained. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. The former purpose-built, art deco bank building has been transformed into an elegant and tastefully modern performance and dining space with high ceilings and a mezzanine level. It’s how I would imagine the Silver Spade Room or Chequers of the 1960s would look and feel if they were designed today.

We are warmly welcomed by the host and hostess and also greeted by a scantily clad woman in a beautiful, elevated, gold-footed, white bathtub, then are led to our table close to the stage. In fact, there are no bad seats in this venue. Fernanda pays us a lot of attention without being intrusive and manager Lilian oversees the proceedings with graceful professionalism.

The three course, set menu is interesting to say the least. We start with the ‘Ménage à Trois’, an unlikely combination of melon balls flavoured with port wine, a single escargot in a butter parsley sauce, smoked duck breast and goat cheese soufflé, so it’s really a ménage à quatre. Not so much a coordinated entrée, it’s more a tasting plate and it works well as a starter.

Then comes the start of the stage show which is a series a dance acts and circus skills executed by some very talented performers in the genre of Parisian cabaret. I’m an anti-smoker, but it seemed that the character of the space missed the atmosphere that only cigarette smoke could provide.

Alicia Rose Quinn and Brendan Irving perform the live singing, and Irving, as well as displaying impressive circus talents, provides the segues between the acts.

After the show format is established, the main course is served.

I had the Poisson L’Iberico. The substantial cod fillet with saffron beurre blanc (butter sauce) fennel and capsicum ragout, chorizo slices and pesto-coated jumbo fries each battle for my attention, seemingly trying to upstage each other to draw my focus.

The waiting staff place clear umbrellas at our tables, and for what reason? Ah, then the elevated bathtub is wheeled into the audience, and as soon as the wet, naked leg is thrust into the air, it all starts to make sense. The bathtub erotica morphs into an all spinning, all spraying circus routine on a suspended hoop.

For dessert, we have a Violet Macaron, Gingerbread Eiffel Tower and a chewy, Rose and Pomegranate Pavlova.

The exceptional dancers, Olivia Cianci, Donna Mitchell, Lauren Kyle and the luscious Angelique Brown are extremely accomplished, and at least two were classically trained, at one time emerging in stylised tutus and ballet pumps, and effortlessly performing on pointe. Then we go to Go-Go dancing and the rousing Can-Can. Some of the costumes leave little to the imagination and at the same time revealing little. It’s gratifying to see performers looking sensational without resorting to surgical enhancements. Au naturel is far more appealing.

Risqué Revue is a very different style of production; I don’t know of any other venue or show in Sydney quite like it. I had flashbacks to the Cabaret Conspiracy days with Michael Matou, Boom Boom La Bern and Fifi L’Amour.

Slide Lounge has become a go-to place, and deservedly so. I also recommend it as a perfect venue for corporate events and I’d like to see it as a regular, late-night cabaret venue as Kinsela’s third floor was in the 1980s.

Risqué Revue

Slide Lounge, 41 Oxford Street Darlinghurst

Every Wednesday night


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