Urban Display Suite: The Real Estate Musical Spectacular
Compromise can be good for the wallet, but it’s rarely good for the soul. And it’s often not a good career move. When Eddie Perfect made the transition from the fringes to the main stage his material, if anything, became more hardcore, more strident and more spectacularly offensive. Rather than compromise, success brought out the very worst in him. And thank god for that!
The cast, minus Dalley, photo: Mike Emmett
In Dalley’s latest venture, which has already played to full houses at fortyfivedownstairs in Melbourne and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, the sweet and sour man allows a softer side out. One part Perfect, one part Doris Day, Dalley lets the sugar overwhelm the medicine in this commercially palatable and flavour-enhanced number about the modern Australian obsession with Real Estate.
In taking on soft targets -- the tastelessness of the nouveau riche, the zeitgeist-hunting and zeitgeist-killing suburban-and-Coke crowd who seek out and then root out all the character in a city -- Dalley has created an undoubted crowd-pleaser. But Urban Display Suite is looser and far less substantial than the works that preceded it, especially Vaudeville X and Intimate Apparel. UDS has more heart -- perhaps -- but it is way less sharp.
It might seem dumb to demand some consistency and more careful dramaturgy in a 15-song, 65-minute cabaret show, but... it is playing in a mainstage theatre rather than a loft in a pub and we have come to expect a lot (and a lot more) from Dalley and his High Performance Company. Let’s not forget that this is the third outing of a show which has been kicking around since May in one form or another and that tickets are fifty bucks a pop... not $23-28 at fortyfivedownstairs. Expectations are heightened. Mine were high. And mine were not met.
I wanted satire, I got the latter day equivalent of Beautiful People by Aussie Crawl.
Urban Display Suite: The Real Estate Musical Spectacular by Michael Dalley. High Performance Company. At the MTC Lawler Studio, Southbank, January 3. Tickets $49.90. Bookings: 03 8668 0800 or mtc.com.au/uds.aspx. Season ends January 21.