Cabaret Festival review: The Piña Colada Room

In response to Adelaide Cabaret Festival artistic director Tina Arena’s affirmation that ‘cabaret is escapism of the most fabulous kind’, welcome to The Piña Colada Room and the escapism that is disco: glitter, glamour, excess and beat.

Jun 11, 2022, updated Jun 17, 2022
Reuben Kaye was the  hostess with the mostess in The Piña Colada Room. Photo: Claudio Raschella

Reuben Kaye was the hostess with the mostess in The Piña Colada Room. Photo: Claudio Raschella

With a list of rotating DJs and hot hosts, The Piña Colada Room is a late-night Cabaret Festival after-party set in the Famous Spiegeltent at the exceedingly happening Festival Plaza. It’s billed as a homage to the icons of disco, and you can expect dancing until well after midnight.

As a stellar pick for opening night, the sensationally bawdy and dreamily gorgeous Reuben Kaye was our hostess with the mostess. Kaye is staring in his own sold-out, one-night-only Live and Intimate show later in the festival, and Spiegeltent revellers were treated to an additional live and intimate performance. One noted “silver fox” in the audience got a very live and intimate performance, having the room in stitches.

Kaye was simply mesmerising, and not only for his characteristically fabulous eyelashes and attention to glitz – he’s got classic superstar quality, and it’s exciting to think that the next host at The Piña Colada Room, and all the others, are likely to be his equal.

DJ Rautie, a regular at big Adelaide festivals like WOMADelaide, pulled out his ’70s vinyl for the night, a trick that’s likely to work on most dance floors anywhere in the world. Love it or hate it, disco’s a safe bet for people determined to dance, but with hints of rockabilly, soul and something a little Caribbean, Rautie threw in some surprises.

And this is entirely fitting of a night where Catherine Alcorn and Phil Scott (starring together in 30 Something, a show where re-imagined contemporary songs lead audiences to the gangster-era speakeasies of Sydney’s Kings Cross) performed a mash up of Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” and The Andrew Sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”. Definitely not disco, but does it matter? It was loads of fun, and interpretation is, after all, what cabaret’s about.

Similarly, Trevor Jones, staring in free nightcap performances called Piano Man, gave us a glimpse of his take on Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets”. Again, not disco, but he found a fan in this reviewer and I aim to check out his set at the Quartet Bar, where I’m told he takes requests.

Also performing was Jack Buchanan from the New Zealand production Don Juan. In white button-down shirt and trousers, he might’ve missed the dress code, but boy did he sing.

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With a hopping bar just outside the Spiegeltent that allows you to take your drinks in, The Piña Colada Room opens its doors at 10.30pm, fostering a kicking-on mentality. Because who really wants to go home after a cabaret show?

The Piña Colada Room is in The Famous Spiegeltent every weekend until June 26 as part of the 2022 Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The host, DJs and artists will vary on different nights.

See all InReview’s coverage of the 2022 Cabaret Festival here.

The Piña Colada Room. Photo: Claudio Raschella

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