“Judges, reveal your scores … Quan, Quan, Quan, Quan aaaaandddd, Quaaaannnn! That’s all Quans! All Quans means this act qualifies for Brisbane’s greatest celebrity, Stefan! We should give them a space needle! Everyone let’s give a big space needle foooorrrr ….”
But I’m getting ahead of myself. And no, I’m not in the midst of a 90s flashback to Homebake, bleach blonde undercut, flanny and all. This is Brisbane’s newest scratch night – WHAM! BAM! Cabaret SLAM! Here, local artists of all shapes, sizes, modalities and talents levels will battle it out once a month for fortune ($100) and glory (the coveted and elusive full audience ‘Space NEEEEeeeddddllllleee’). It’s a Tuesday night at the Bearded Lady at West End, it’s the debut and, because we love supporting local artists, it’s sold out! Nice one Brisbo!
WhamBam is the latest arty endeavour by the fabulous Ruckus Brisbane crew. Not happy to rest on their laurels by hosting monthly poetry slams (yep, you read that plural right, Brisbane has multiple poetry slams – Ruckus Slam and Ruckus Youth Slam), and creating new works (like the wonderful Dinopoclypse), Ruckus have launched this new monthly ‘cabaret night with a twist’. Performers have up to 10 mins to strut their stuff in whatever way they wish. They are then judged by five audience members picked at random who score them on a scale of Bris-Vegas celebs from Therese Gambaro to Quan. I’ll let you guess which celeb is higher. And then the audience gets to judges the judges, so everyone’s a winner. Think of it as Brisbane’s Got Talent without the wanky judging panel. Battle Royale without the blood (mostly). It’s a Ruckus Slam night without the boring poets (plural). Hey, don’t look at me, they’re the hosts’ words. But it’s a new monthly event that you’re going to want to check out.
Sidebar – Brisbane has now launched two new scratch nights in the last month, the other being Fast&Loose by Half-Hitch. There’s a whole lot of regularly scheduled goodness for you to attend to support Brissy artist, so get into it and spread the word.
WhamBam is ably hosted by Brissy’s very own dynamic duo Angela Pieta and Meg Bartholomew. Long time collaborators and key parts of the Ruckus Brisbane crew, Ange and Meg provide effortless and delightfully awkward banter throughout the night. Their enthusiasm and infectious chemistry keeps the show moving through the random assortment of arty folk competing for the prize.
And random we get. The show opens with the special debut of a new character from one of Brissy’s reigning clowns, Phoebe Manning, and just gets more random in all the right ways. Cheeky Moon teaches us about the hidden depths of pop and how Venga Boys is the secret to temporal physics. Claire Fitzpatrick bakes up some saucy treats. Benjamin Wood mixes words, beats and selfies. Mark Cosgrove solos up a storm on the drums. Simon Kindt sneaks in some tender poetry and shows us what Asia O’Hara was actually going for in the Drag Race finale. Llama Drama Ding Dong shows us perfect movie mash-up – the Pterodactyl of Wall Street. Lissy Loushay serves up some Marilyn Munro realness. And Bianca Mackail gives us the feral hoop girl show stopper we didn’t know we needed.
So, who was the winner of this rag tag bunch of random you ask?
Meg and Ange of course! They took us into housemate interviews, gave us delayed safety warnings, talked up Brisbane artists who hadn’t left for Melbourne yet and gave shit to the judges. They were excited about the fact they had no clue what each act would bring (“This one’s going to be good, or really, really shit!”) and I’d be happy to watch them banter all night long. Congrats to them and the Ruckus crew for a cracking WhamBam debut and for giving space for Brissy performers of all sorts to show their stuff and to let weird art be weird. I look forward to see who and what comes out of the woodwork for the next one!
So, I guess you want to know who scored the first coveted Space Needle and took home the prize? It was Bianca Mackail, despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that she almost brought down the house with her. God bless the Bearded Lady for supporting the beautiful, messy art of Bris Vegas.
WhamBam will be back every month with a whole new line-up of random. Here’s to some more ‘Space NEEEEeeeedddllee!’ goodness in all the shows to come. Keep an eye on the Ruckus Brisbane page for details and make sure to pre-book tickets, because I’m sure it will sell out again.
WHAM! BAM! Cabaret SLAM! | Ruckus Brisbane
MCs | Angela Peita and Meg Bartholomew
Special Guest | Phoebe Manning as March
Venue | The Bearded Lady, West End