Cab Sav: A Savvy Cabaret

Globe Theatre, 104 London St, Dunedin

13/07/2011 - 17/07/2011

Production Details

 If you are in Dunedin 13 – 17 July, do not miss Ad Hoc Productions’ CAB SAV: A SAVVY CABARET. This contemporary cabaret-theatre show offers mid-winter conviviality with some pre-election contemplation, as it mixes the genres and gives a bow to 1930s Berlin, a sly nudge and a wink to ragtime, and a nod to popular music. Ad Hoc Productions harnesses a rare mix of Dunedin talent, blending satire, live music, dance, comedy, puppetry and song and to present a wacky and original cabaret, for its 5 show mid-winter season in the Deep South.

Irreverent, risqué and highly entertaining. This defiant cabaret meditates on the sins, hypocrisy and shortfalls of the human condition and combines an exquisite tension of humour, romance, the political and nostalgia that will raise an eyebrow, have you in stitches, and leave you breathless. Cab Sav takes its audience on a rip-roaring ride through the sublime and the ridiculous Dunedin style!

Cab Sav is best served at room temperature, may offend and may contain nudity (yours)!

For this premiere season, the theatrical vocal textures of Karin Reid and Jimmy Currin are hung together by the musical virtuosity of Jazz pianist, Will Martin (Resonance Trio), and cellist, Jimmy Currin (Ray Off), who render a variety of surprising covers and original music. The project has also attracted an exciting and eclectic mix of performers including: dancers Ana Martino and Hahna Briggs; performance artist Sandra Muller; irreverent comedienne and storyteller Kaitrin McMullen; actor Kiri Beeching and comedian Richard West.

Ad Hoc Productions turns the Globe Theatre into an atmospheric and intimate cabaret space with the help of set dresser, Josh Thomas. While audiences mull their senses on Cab Sav’s provocative bouquet, they will also be able to sup on a range of wines and Emerson’s beer from the bar, and run by some of the infamous hosts of the much-loved Mou Very bar and other local characters.

Where Bob Fosse meets Kurt Weill and where Punch & Judy meets the backbenchers – if you want to warm the proverbial cockles, or go somewhere different to celebrate the chilly season (and spend your electricity bill money) with your friends and colleagues, Cab Sav: A Savvy Cabaret at the Globe Theatre, is the place to be!
Welcome to the cabaret! Come in from the cold and leave your troubles at the door.

Wednesday 13 July – Sunday 17 July
7pm (Wed – Sat) / 2.30pm (Sun)
The Globe Theatre, 104 London Street, Dunedin
Tickets: $18 full / $12 conc (students, unwaged)
Tickets on sale this week from:
Mou Very, George Street
Mint DVD Rentals
Opp. farmers market & behind Ironic café
Limited door sales (cash only)
Cab Sav Bar: Serving Emerson’s beer, a selection of wines and other refreshment (cash only).  The bar will be open prior to the show, at interval and after the show. 

The Band : Will Martin (piano, sax), Karin Reid (vocals), Anna Bowen (violin,                                                    vocals), Craig Sinclair (double bass), Kevin Finnigan (drums)         

Dance Ensemble :Ana Martino, Lisa Wilkinson, Miriam Marler, Lizzie Hewitt, Aliza Yair

MC: Sandra Muller

Performers :Richard West, Kiti Beeching, Kaitrin McMullen, Jeff Robinson         


Costumes: Sandra Muller, Sharon Matthews, Kaitrin McMullen, Costumes As Is,                                              Maryanne Wright-Smythe, Cast

Lighting Design : Martyn Roberts

Poster Photograph: Pip Wilson

Graphic Design: Jason Anson


Lighting Technician             Joel Labes

Sound Engineer                  Mike McLeod

Stage Managers                   Steve Ward, Elise Allen, William Tait-Jaimieson, Tania Phillips

FOH                                        Miguel Nitis

Bar Staff                                Tania Robinson, Phoebe McKenzie , Elsa May, Tara James.



This show was produced with very little and from so much generocity and support from so many. My thanks go to the performers, creative team and crew and their families.

Thank you also to: Dunedin City Council, Otago Community Trust, University of Otago Humanities Department, RASA School of Dance, PURPLERAIN, Allen Hall Theatre, Estelle Flowers, Harbour Street Bakery, Jacque Gilbert, Roberta at King Edward Court.

An abundance of unique local style

Review by Sharon Matthews 14th Jul 2011

“Come in from the cold and leave your troubles at the door . . .” says producer and director Karin Reid of Cab Sav: a Savvy Cabaret. Seduced by this glorious concept on a drizzly Dunedin winter night, I entered a Globe Theatre transformed. The stage, set dressed by Josh Thomas, was now an intimate living room redolent with scented smoke. A warm oasis of softly glowing lampshades, carpeted rostra and overstuffed armchairs. 

Billed as a cabaret-theatre show, Cab Sav mixes comedy, live music, dance and political satire posing as a puppet show.  Songs and comic sketches are loosely woven together by our MC, ‘Mama Kuss’.

Vocalists Karin Reid and Jimmy Currin evoke the decadent cabaret of pre-war Berlin, performing a mixture of old and original songs reflecting love and heartbreak. Stand-outs are ‘The Ballad of the Soldier’s Wife’ (Weill/Brecht), performed by Reid, and a fantastic version of ‘Jockey Full of Bourbon’ (Tom Waits), by Currin.

The Knackenhouse House band, comprised of musical virtuoso pianist and saxophonist Will Martin (Resonance Trio), and cellist/guitarist Currin (Ray Off), are a stylishly relaxed and seedy duo.

Dancers Ana Martino and Hahna Briggs lounge just visible off-stage. With identical slicked down hair and pencil thin moustache, these two sketch lightly images of gender instability. Martino and Briggs’s self-choreographed dance pieces, set to music by P J Harvey and Waits, work beautifully with the musical ethos, being unforced, but casually powerful.

Against this opaque atmosphere, comedienne, puppeteer and storyteller Kaitrin McMullen’s style of comedy seemed brutally abrasive. Which may, actually, have been the dramaturgical intent. Perhaps I need to out myself as a prude; but while I realise that as empowered women in control of our sexuality we can talk as filthy as men, does that mean we have to? Also, I felt that a dig at visiting sexologist Pamela Stevenson-Connolly (Connolly-Stevenson?) came off as mean-spirited not funny. Nonetheless, McMullen is a strong and supremely confident performer, whose onstage demonstration of the ‘Dirty Clementine Sex Machine’ must be seen to be believed. 

Continuing with the production’s underlying themes of sexuality and empowerment, actor Kiri Beeching and comedian Richard West flamboyantly present a series of comic duologues which flirt with topics as diverse as the search for the perfect sperm-bank donor, the right of a pregnant woman to control her body, and the importance of establishing socio-economic parameters in dramatic situations. 

The absolute stand-out for me was performance artist Sandra Muller. Her alter-persona, Mama Kuss, is our conductor on this theatrical journey through life, sex, love, and far-flung places. Muller’s surreal anecdotes, and her unique spin on the most clichéd of proverbs, form a framework upon which these disparate performances can be displayed. I wish I had the comic ability to reproduce one, just one, of Muller’s Delphic monologues, but without Muller’s comedic zest and exuberant presentation they cannot be duplicated.

Oh, and the costumes! The costumes! I have (temporarily) run out of superlatives. Every entrance revealed Muller costumed in a new vision. I fell in love with a maritime model topped off with blue sequined ship, only to be ravished by a creation that merged aspects of Madame Pompadour with that of Salome – complete with head of John the Baptist on toy trolley – and incorporated a fabric and corsetry homage to the nursing mother.  

When I saw this show on opening night, the performers were recovering from a traumatic move from venue to venue. So it seems unfair to suggest that Cab Sav’s grab-bag of cabaret elements doesn’t quite fit together. Yet. This show, however, has an abundance of unique local style. If you are interested in supporting and encouraging regional live culture, I would recommend strongly that you see this show.

Oh, and make sure you are back in your seat promptly after interval in order to catch Alice McKenzie’s unmissable guest appearance. It’s meant to be a surprise, so I can’t tell you any details – go and experience it for yourself! 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.  


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