Trash Cabaret at the Hillcrest Quarry in Durbanville was exactly what it promised to be and more. It was quite literally a “Carnival of Dreams”, as its byline fittingly claimed. With many performers and attendees dressed up, full of hairspray and face-painted, it was a very glittery and colourful event.
Indoors, the cabaret stage featured sensual female (and male!) burlesque dancers, belly dancers, jugglers, puppet masters and short musical performances by the likes of Cami Scoundrel or Ann Jangle. It was a much needed warm up. Out in the cold at the main stage, the magazine centrefold performance was eagerly anticipated, and well worth the shiver. As the band – including saxophones, a cello, double bass and electric guitar and bass – started hitting their first couple of notes, acrobats and dancers pranced along the runway extending from the stage, to show off their skill to the surrounding audience. Riaan Smit – lead singer of Crimson House and long-time Trash Cabaret host – MC’d and sang in his deep, sultry voice. Apart from doing the usual classics, such as ‘Minnie the Moocher’, he also sang a mind-blowing version of Gogo Bordello’s ‘Wearing Purple’ to an ecstatic crowd. Another main stage highlight was the Unknown Dance Crew who performed fabulously synchronised and humorous choreography to a mash up of popular songs.
During the break from the main stage action, everyone went over to a half-island in the quarry to watch fire dancers spin their lit-up chains through the air to Wild Lettuce’s quirky didgeridoo sounds. Afterwards, Nomadic Orchestra got everyone dancing to their bouncy brass tunes back at the main stage.
The evening ended with a DJ set by Ra Mava, ending the event as a whole; there was a clear golden thread, weaving through from start to end. But most importantly, the theatrical atmosphere, circus costumes and great lighting ensured that it was not just sonically exhilarating but visually stimulating too – all the senses were satisfied. Why can’t everyone dress up like this, always?
Trash Cabaret took place at Hillcrest Quarry in Durbanville on the 14 May 2016.