In 1983, ZZ Top famously sang that, “every girl[‘s] crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man”. This being a Reuben Kaye show, it’s more accurate to say every guy; especially the twinks in the second row. And sharply dressed he is, frequently changing vests as the show goes on, until he emerges at the end, a sparkling, cabaret vampire, in the words of the British Theatre Guide, “the evil love child of Liza Minnelli and Jim Carrey”. Mothers, lock up your sons.
Kaye is at home once again at the Butterfly Club, a perfect venue for this erudite, enigmatic, and downright eccentric entertainer, a “basement setting on the fourth floor”. He’s traveled the world and the seven seas, striking fear into the hearts of the conservative masses. A manically energetic performer, I’m told that every show is different, and that there’s a great joy in winding him up and just letting him run (he’s working on it a little; after the first two shows, he’s down from twenty minutes overtime to just five).
Through a wonderful selection of song covers, Kaye tells us his story, of growing up different, and how young love can be almost exactly like being punched in the face. Songs include the aforementioned “Sharp Dressed Man” by ZZ Top, Kate Bush classic “Wuthering Heights”, and – almost – Celine Dion singing “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”. Kaye brings his unique style to each number, his own twist, and you’re constantly left wondering, with no idea what to expect next. But you know it will be incredible.
Reuben Kaye in Plugged! Bring the kids! (Don’t bring the kids.) is at the Butterfly Club Tuesday – Sunday at 10pm until April 17. Prices $34 – $38, discounts for Members, Groups of 6+, all tickets $28 on Tuesdays.