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Liza Dezfouli reviews Mademoiselle for Australian Stage


See the review in its original context here.

Michael Dalley is the real deal when it comes to the Melbourne cabaret scene; he is a sophisticated pisstaker extraordinaire who delights once more with his new work, Mademoiselle, an exercise in supreme nastiness. Very funny and rude. We last saw his talent comically tarring and feathering the world of real estate in Urban Display Suite.

Here Dalley and co-deviser/performer Paul McCarthy present in song the most professional pair of bitchy queens you will ever meet, sad little men with evil minds and a penchant for going through other people’s rubbish. The best thing about this show is how it has a go at two of Australia’s wealthiest, most famous and least civic minded ladies. Recognition brings glee. Music is provided by John Thorn; the songs are co-written by him and Dalley.

Personally, I don’t like to hear jokes from gay men about smelly twats, a tired form of misogyny, although one perfectly natural to these characters. You have to abandon your politically proper sensibilities with this sort of show, anyway. No point taking umbrage because you leave yourself, well, wide open. These two even dare to poke fun at disability.

The play on the word ‘pianist’ is just one of many, many laughs strewn throughout a work which relishes in lampooning the pretentious and ignorant among us. The peak is the restaurant scene with the two waiters and their nasally ‘would you like cracked pepper with that?’. That is sure to become a catchphrase overheard in Melbourne’s eateries henceforth. If you think you’d enjoy a song about a Passive Aggressive Filipino Amway Lady or one about Brett, the Nasty Queen in Menswear … Help! I am losing my thread here cos I’m giggling too much remembering!

Mademoiselle, ‘an orgy of ridicule and a litany of abuse’, is a subtle and gaspingly amusing show with layer upon layer of social observation. It is clever and thorough horrid-mindedness. For utter thrills laughing at other people then don’t miss it. Someone, quickly, make Michael Dalley a national treasure. We need him, badly.

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