The Renegade Cabaret

Plimmer Steps, Above Leroy's Bar, Wellington

06/03/2024 - 08/03/2024

Stilettos Revue Bar, Dunedin


NZ Fringe Festival 2024

Dunedin Fringe Festival 2024

Production Details

Produced in partnership between Circulation Festival Trust, Spark & Flare NZ, and the Black Rabbit.

The Black Rabbit

The award winning Renegade Cabaret is finally coming to Wellington! After four years of terrorizing the South Island, they’re bringing the sleaze to the 2024 NZ Fringe Festival with three wild shows. Circus artists, burlesque babes, and cabaret queers from around Aotearoa are descending upon Pōneke in a celebration of strange.
Straddling sequins and chaos, join us for unhinged celebration of scandalous stunts, death defying acts, and idiotic party tricks. Roll the dice, spin the wheel, and mix the metaphor as experienced artists offer up their oddest acts. Each night promises a lineup that’s unrepeatable, unpredictable, and potentially unmentionable.
This will get weird. . .

March 6-8, 7.30-9.30pm
Leroy’s Bar
Tickets $30/$20, available from

Dunedin Tickets renegade-cabaret

Circulation Festival Trust, Dunedin.
Spark & Flare NZ, Wellington

Various creatives involved - published on the night of performance.

[R18] , Boylesque , Burlesque , Cabaret , Circus , Comedy , LGBTQIA+ , Performance Art , Variety , Vaudeville , Dance ,


Radical celebration

Review by Cordy Black 07th Mar 2024

MC and impresario Victor Victorious promotes this Renegade Cabaret as “a celebration of strange”, but at its heart it feels much more like a radical celebration of Aotearoa’s embattled performing arts community. 

The two-hour variety show is directly inspired by semi-spontaneous, volunteer-led events that are a staple of the New Zealand festival scene. The opening night features appearances from people who frequent Circulation festival and its ilk, and Renegade Cabaret is very open about its origins. 

Replicating the feel of an open-air, uncensored performance marathon in a city setting has its challenges and its upsides. Leroy’s may be upstairs, but the event still feels accessible on many levels in a way that sitting in a paddock does not. The discussions around informed consent are wonderful to experience, easing the audience into the physical and emotional intimacy that they are about to witness up close. Spacing out three acts at a time with generous audience breaks and MC patter is a wise choice, because with acts that are so diverse in tone, a palate cleanser helps each act to stay memorable. 

The event’s gimmick is that the line-up will rotate through its run, and that the crew won’t necessarily know what to expect from each performer. This semi-chaotic format gives the whole proceedings a pleasant frisson of unease and adrenaline. Interactivity is part and parcel of the experience, cleverly balanced with a feeling of psychological safety and mutual respect for both the performers and the audience. 

The opening night’s line-up includes circus artistry with a real sense of risk, emphasised and sometimes induced by the semi-improvised format. It features erotic, comedic and utterly serious nudity, often in swift sequence. Many variety shows end up unconsciously skewing towards favouring one style of performance, but Renegade Cabaret avoids this bias by being such a genuine surprise to its own showrunners that we as onlookers share in that spontaneous delight, like a kid digging through a lucky dip bag and discovering new treasures each time. 

Some honourable mentions from opening night: Andy Manning shows off their brilliant song writing and punchy comedic timing in a dazzling first-act appearance. Chase D’Ladis gives Hammer Horror-era Dracula vibes with a surreal and occasionally hilarious chair dance. Joel Lawry concocts mad-libs erotic fiction that has the audience teetering between titillation and tittering. Ms Leading serves cannibalistic fey energy. Mel’Dente hits us right in the feelings with a powerful and completely earnest vignette of suffering and determination. Natasha Ploy shows us something new with a single-hoop dance that has the audience gasping. 

All in all, Renegade Cabaret doesn’t leave an aftertaste of strangeness. Rather, it feels wholesome, for all its advertised sleaze and intensity. This reviewer is put in mind of the concept of ‘radical inclusion’, brought over from the festival scene. Renegade Cabaret doesn’t set out to estrange people. Instead, it welcomes them in. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council