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‘Cabaret in the box: Tales and songs of Brissie life’ are presented as part of Anywhere Theatre Festival
Duration: 60 minutes
Venue: The Red Box, State Library of Queensland

Bursting out of Brisbane’s box – the Red Box – come Crystal Shine, Belinda Raisin, and, the smooth stylings of Betty and the Betties with tales and songs of Brissie life.

Crystal Shine has a five-step plan to be “all that I can be in Brisbane”. Following her West End guru’s advice, she grounds herself, finds her inner colour chakra (pink) and identifies her spirit animal – a pink unicorn. Steps four and five will be revealed later in the show.

Our hostess with the mostest, Jenny Wynter, and the audience introduce ourselves. Where are the best and worst places for nights out in Brissie? Where’s the best place to meet someone? Tony and Fiona will be the lucky recipients of a specially-written song.

Belinda Raisin, accepted to perform at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, delights with her musical comedy on the joys and frustrations of being Brissie-born and bred. How sweet it is to return from the cold southern states to sun in the sky, breeze feathering bare arms, and big backyards. “Ah, the pets I have known,” she laments.

The final bracket belongs to Betty and the Betties, Brisbane’s answer to the Andrews Sisters. Betty reveals her late husband Earl’s rise to be a City Cat driver – from skippering a tug between Brookfield and Ipswich – to his untimely demise. It’s an electric set.

Jenny closes the show with a sing-a-long anthem which she believes is quintessentially Brisbane: “Neighbours should be there for one another: that’s when neighbours become good friends.”

The State Library’s Red Box is a glass-walled amphitheatre fronting the river. Night-time on the river – City Cats, paddle-wheel steamers, cars on the expressway – are a great backdrop to these tales and songs of Brissie life. Life is a cabaret!

Performance seen: 17 May
Review: Shirley Way

Cast: Jenny Wynter, Belinda Raisin, Crystal Shine, Betty and the Betties

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