A dimly lit stage with various wine glasses and a comfy chair meet you when you enter These Things Take Wine. It might take you a moment to see the legs sprawled out behind that comfy chair. It might take you another moment to realise the brown bag gracing the stage is from our beloved Maccas. These are important realisations.
With UB40’s “Red Red Wine” greeting you, there’s no mistaking the subject of this show is wine, in all its glory. Tash York, cabaret and theatre extraordinaire, is joined by writer of Butch Masters: Man of Destiny, Jamie Burgess, on piano, harmonies and sassy comebacks. Well, perhaps Burgess is joined by York as she stumbles awake out of her drunken stupor to reveal many life lessons and stories beautifully brought to her by wine.
A face full of last-night’s smeared make up and the remnants of what was probably a killer, voluminous hairdo, York takes us on a journey accompanied by the melodies of Amy Winehouse to Tina Turner. From chicken nuggets being fished out of her bra and eaten, to throwing impromptu birthday parties for an audience member, York owns not just this stage, but the entire room. She makes even the more apprehensive audience members comfortable, even to the point of cuddles and spanking.
The story and accompanying songs are wonderful. These Things Take Wine has its ups and downs, allowing for riotous laughter and quieter contemplation. This sexy and provocative show is expertly delivered, never seeming unrealistic, and always somehow endearing. “Musical Theatre Boys” is a particularly great song, allowing York’s tongue to be planted firmly in her cheek.
As York settled into the slower, more emotive song of the show, an audience member’s phone rang. And rang. And rang. I’m all for a range of people coming out to see live entertainment, but have some manners. I’ll leave out the various four-letter words I wrote on my notepad while this happened. It really is phones galore this MICF and it’s revolting. Ever the professional, York pushed through and even tossed a joke out about the issue.
This super-talented, super-busy lady is performing in two shows this comedy festival. Thank goodness for the beehive for The Desperettes, I can’t imagine it’d be too easy getting her hair back down after These Things Take Wine. It’s clear York is deeply passionate about entertainment and performance with an incredible sense of humour and astonishing voice.
It’s really quite a spectacular thing to see someone overcome the challenges of a wine cork through the help of an electric drill and a straw.
Tash York is a real treasure for the stage. With a divine voice you could never tire of and a charismatic, commanding personality, York is a true talent audiences are lucky to experience.
Tash York’s These Things Take Wine is on at The Butterfly Club as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival until Sunday 23 April 2017.
DANI ROTHWELL — APRIL 13, 2017
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