FRINGEWORLD 2017 Michael Wheatley and the Dirty Carpet Disco Band (4 stars)

Review by Brandon Taylor

When a seasoned musician and veteran of the burlesque scene such as Michael Wheatley (who has been part of Sydney’s music and cabaret arenas since the early 90’s) takes the stage, you know that you’re in for an entertaining night.

“The carpet’s clean… we’ll have to do something about that,” said Wheatley as he slid behind the piano dominating the Ellington’s stage. Almost immediately, he launched into a tender ballad. Smooth to start, the lyrics turned greasy as Kitty Kitty Bang Bang (drums) and Stefano Cosentino (bass) joined him to complete the mixture of soul/funk, cabaret and comedy that is the Dirty Carpet Disco Band.

Kitty and Consetino were first-timers to the group (usually manned by Josh Wermut on bass and Ben Isackson on drums), but they slotted right into Wheatley’s montage of crooning tunes and slapstick interludes.

Custom made for cabaret, the vibe set up burlesque dancers Kelly Ann Doll and Betty Bombshell perfectly. Sometimes they played Wheatley’s angry ex-lovers, sometimes they played sultry seductresses yet to be sampled, but each of their appearances rocked the stage (and the front row tables) with a flesh-tinted fury only the finest and most confident of performers can deliver.

The music was catchy, if a bit trite. Wheatley’s stage presence was grand, if a bit rummy. And the burlesque dancers rounded off what would be the ideal performance to get rowdy about while downing some of the good stuff.

When: 25th, 28th Jan,  10th, 11th Feb

Where: The Ellington Jazz Club, 191 Beaufort St | PERTH

Tickets: $15 – $20

Info: Duration 100 mins | Cabaret | Burlesque