Adelaide Fringe 2020: Prohibition

Who: Motley and Mac

Where: Ukiyo at Gluttony Rymil Park

When: Until 15 March

Tickets: $30-35, here

If you’ve ever thought you’d be right at home doing the Charleston in a gin-soaked speakeasy, this show is for you. In Prohibition, a crew of colourful characters deliver cabaret, dance, acrobatics, humour and magic all with a jazzy 1920s flair.

Variety shows can sometimes (ironically) be same-y, but Prohibiton sets itself apart by committing to its speakeasy schtick. Each act is performed by a different character pulled straight from a gangster flick. Vampy chanteuse Minnie the Maneater seduces us with her powerful voice and even bigger personality; stumbling drunk ‘Mason the Brick’ precariously pulls off feats of strength to grab hold of his next bottle. I especially loved the classic film noir detective who quipped about being a ‘private dick’, all while dazzling us with sleight-of-hand tricks. My favourite character, however, was ‘Johnny Two-Hands’, the devious owner of the story’s illicit gin joint. Johnny’s juggling tricks are amplified by his unexpectedly self-deprecating, snarky humour and fantastic comic delivery, a truly memorable character who I would gladly see in a show of his own.

I pretty much love anything 1920s-themed, but even I was pleasantly surprised by the thought put into Prohibition. The loose framing narrative of the detective hot on the trail of Johnny’s gin den gives a great sense of cohesion to the circus and cabaret acts. I honestly expected a larger cast and more elaborate production, but the smaller tight-knit cast of characters carried off the show beautifully. Coupled with a high-energy big-band soundtrack and oodles of audience participation, Prohibition is a great choice for a night out.

4/5 stars

–Tamika Glouftsis

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