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fruit cocktail-pride edition : fruit box theatre @ kxt bakehouse

Above : Noah Worries cosed the show with his dramatic number as The Bard. Featured image: cast and crew which brought this cabaret to life. All images : Mathew Miceli.

Queers have just survived another Federal Election. And are hurtling boldly through Pride month.

To celebrate, Fruitbox Theatre returned to KXT bAKEHOUSE at the Kings Cross Hotel with a busy cabaret. On constant switch was a range of genres, segment pace and performance structure.

Above : MC AJ Lamarque was the charismqtic and engaging host of  this night of  cabaret. Image: Matthew Miceli.

The sharing ranged from song, spoken word, comedy, improvisation, poetry, dance and even an appearance from The Bard themself, in no-nonsense 2023 Drag King style.

Fruit Cocktail – Pride Edition affirmed the power and importance of queer performance in our theatres, a goal of the Fruitbox team. This romp wore its robust heart unapologetically on its sleeve and also always in the head.

Indie theatre has a vibrant safe space at the Kings Cross Theatre bAKEHOUSE. The event doubled as a launching pad for the Ripe project initiative on the night. Chosen writers and actors were announced and each gave us an exciting precis of shows to be developed over the next year with Fruitbox. These premieres will appear in performance during Sydney’s World Pride 2023.

This cabaret’s MC, AJ Lamarque warmed up as well as looked after the assembled talent and crowd brilliantly as the nicely paced night unfolded.

Above: Manish Interest. Image: Matthew Miceli.

Setting the tone, the bar and musical contribution high for the night was former Voice finalist Kim Sheehy (she/her). The poise and directness of this quality vocal triptych spanned Joni Mitchell, a Kim Sheehy original and Missy Higgins. Self-reflection in the lyrics and banter was candid, cutting and welcoming, a signature confidence for all performers to follow.

Robin Eames (they/them) read their beautifully chiselled, exquisitely crafted poetry accompanied by acute wit and cheeky reality in their rapport with the crowd adoring the storytelling adorned with strong, refracted imagery. Eames’ tribute to queers lost who paved the way for us was deeply touching.

The night rocketed along with unapologetic and clever comedy from Brigitta Brown (she/her). Her raucous ballads on mother and daughter coming out and especially her fangirling of Diet Coke were instant classics with this crowd.

Manish Interest (he/him) maintained the comedic tessitura and dazzled us with slick drag king moves borrowed from a beserk blend of Bharathanatyam dance and new-vogue burlesque in his inimitable entertaining blend.

Above : Improv dream team Snake Pit Comedy. Image: Matthew Miceli.

Scintillating Snake Pit Comedy improv stars Maddie Houlbrook-Walk (she/her) and John Robles (he/him) turned our Monday nite around with contagious energy, flexibility and accent in two instant scenes generated from audience cue words.

Aisling (she/her) and Clay Crighton (they/them) delivered more great original songs, sentiment to get real alongside and quality musicianship.

The solo and combined efforts here reached out to us from deep within their queer experience. The self-accompanied songs offered us suffering, solitude and survival in unique, polyemotional packaging.

Above : Singer / songwriter Clay Crighton. Image: Matthew Miceli.

It was the Bard, previously mentioned, who brought this queer cabaret home. This frenetic lip sync battle for one was brought to us by the talented Noah Rimes (he/him). It was iambic pentameter meets now pyrotechnics and completed the massive rainbow arc of talent these entertaining two hours brought us.

Such Fruitbox cocktails, whether sipped as part of the StepUp Festival, World Pride or other celebration, will go straight to your dizzy head, tickling many parts of you on the way.

Future cocktail editions should not be missed. This company’s immediate future shines as brightly and blatantly as the venue’s nearby, non-diet Coca Cola sign. Taste the real thing.



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