Blak Cabaret at Malthouse Theatre

An Aboriginal cabaret show under the stars – what a unique way to spend a night. Malthouse Theatre’s outdoor courtyard plays host to Blak Cabaret, a mélange of music and drag, pathos interspersed with comedy.

The overarching plotline centres around Queen Constantina Bush, the alter-ego of Kamahi Djordon King. He plays Constantina for laughs, in broad strokes of humor that sometimes touch on the lewd – much to the crowd’s delight. Swanning about in a series of intricate and over-the-top royal outfits, Constantina and her minion (Nikki Ashby) discoverAustralia. Flipping the historical narrative, they declare the native white people to be under their protection. This plays out in true political satire.

Photo courtesy Pia Johnson

Photo courtesy Pia Johnson

Interspersed with the unfolding invasion/subjugation of whites are songs and poetry. The other members of Blak Cabaret — Kutcha Edwards, Deline Briscoe, Bart Willoughby and Emma Donovan — make up the talented foursome. My favourite moments were when they sang in their native languages. Hearing Aboriginal languages in song isn’t something that this foreigner (or, I’ll warrant, many Aussies) has often had the chance to hear.

Photo courtesy Pia Johnson

Photo courtesy Pia Johnson

Who better to bring along as my +1 than my good friend R., who just so happens to be a professor focusing on indigenous and ethnic politics at Melbourne University. Yeah, pretty much the target demographic for the show. Especially since he’s an Indigenous person himself, albeit not Aboriginal. At one point he turned to me with: “I fuckin’ love reggae.” Yup, Aboriginal reggae. Where else can you get that?

Clocking in at an hour, Blak Cabaret was the perfect length of time for enjoyment to be sustained. Go for the jokes and music. Stay because it makes you think.


Blak Cabaret

10 – 22 Feb, 8pm (gates from 6pm)
Tickets: $60, $30 conc.

Outdoor BBQ from 6pm (see menu).
Book a table of six and enjoy two bottles of premium wine on the house. Tables bookings via Box Office on 03 9685 5111.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Malthouse Theatre.