Master’s Curious Delirium

Sammy's Entertainment Venue, Dunedin

17/03/2011 - 24/03/2011

Dunedin Fringe 2011

Production Details

Adelaide cabaret troupe tour to Dunedin for the 2011 Fringe Festival!!

Darkly funny. Deliriously bizarre.  
Wildly carnivaleque. Ridiculously Fringe.

Bird Wizdom is bringing their hilariously absurd new show to the Dunedin Fringe direct from the Adelaide Fringe Festival! This strange and dazzling Adelaide cabaret troupe were received by sell-out crowds in the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival, and received 5 stars for their Adelaide Fringe debut in early 2010.

They will be hitting New Zealand shores for the first time ever, to promote their new album and share their unique blend of cabaret, with this comedic stage-show extravaganza! Their show is a lively combination of mischievous social satire, silliness, a rockin circus-gypsy band, poignant ukulele serenades and a puddle of tears that can dance!

All this and nothing else! (Not really… there is also a wolf that can play the tambourine)

Anya Anastasia and her bunch of Bird Wizdom misfits will appear at Sammy’s supported by local act “Highly Flammable” for 5 nights during the festival.

Master’s Curious Delirium
Sammy’s, 65 Crawford Street
March 17, 18, 19, 23, 24
90 mins
TicketDirect – 03 477 8597

1hr 30min

Cabaret with a warm, if cynical, heart

Review by Sharon Matthews 21st Mar 2011

Anya Anastasia’s Bird Wizdom Orchestra, fresh off the plane from Adelaide’s Fringe Festival, promised, and delivers, a “darkly funny and deliriously bizarre” cabaret performance. Their first international adventure, the deranged fairytale Master’s Curious Delirium, is perfectly suited to the decaying glamour of Sammy’s Nightclub.

Anya McNicol-Windrum, adopting the persona of the Upside Down Girl and assisted by a skeletal orchestra of trombonist and drummer, performs a suite of melancholy, morose, and self-loathing songs.

Sounds depressing? Rest assured this dark cabaret is a tasty pirouette through the strangely erotic world of the social outcast. In McNicol-Windram’s own words: the role of cabaret is to hold a mirror up to society, to push boundaries and stimulate thought, debate and discussion. Risk causing offence, dare to be bold, stand up and speak out.

Flavoursome though this social satire is, the primary problem for me is that this is essentially a series of songs performed mostly by the undeniably talented and charismatic Anya McNicol-Windram. She is assisted by Lilly Sim belly dancing, Matt Gorgula on drums and Josh Luke Rice as Dr Bones.

There is some slight attempt at developing characterisation in between songs; Dr Bones croons lovingly to his crustacean paramour, rejecting the advances of all others, even when plied with strong liquor. I would have liked more. There seemed untapped potential for a strong narrative framework implicit in the poetic mythos of the songs.

I felt, also, that the awkward stage setting hampers the creation of an intimate connection between performer and audience, although I understand that this is a problem often faced by artists attempting to adapt to a touring venue. The performance space might have worked better if the troupe ignored the existing stage.

Sim, in particular, seems uncomfortable navigating between microphone stands, and insufficient space seems to hamper her dancing. Although her final solo piece is delicately beautiful, up until this point she seems disengaged from the other on-stage activities. 

The design of both make-up and costuming is striking, but is dependent on what is for me an over-used iconography, a combination of pre-War Berlin cabaret and burlesque.

However, overall, the strong and committed performances convince through sheer force of personality. And musically, this show is outstanding. This troupe may be limited in numbers, but they don’t short-change their audience! Songs such as ‘Tea Tea Tea’ and ‘Georgie Porgie’ stood out for me in this collection for their engaging melodies undercut by bitingly cynical and bitterly sarcastic passion. Poignant ukulele solos segue into satirical a cappella songs.

But, ultimately, this is cabaret with a warm, if cynical, heart in which misery, and personified puddles of tears will be chased away by a passing wolf .
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