I’d seen a few of the performers in ‘Church of Wonders’ previously, so I snapped up the opportunity to check out a show with a bigger cast and see what they’d get up to in the elegant Melba Spiegeltent. The Spiegeltent adds a little something to the show. You never know when you’ll catch a divine reflection off one of its many mirrors. Take a seat anywhere you like, and the show will come to you.
Mama Shak is a larger-than-life televangelist who moves about the venue searching out lost souls to heal. Yes, that means that hiding in a booth won’t necessarily keep you from the healing touch. Her hilarious antics even involve chocolate at one point, but then only one guy got any. (Such a tease! What happened to the rest of the chocolate?) It’s not all about her, of course. You’ll meet a bevy of angels, a baby-faced priest, and even Jesus along the journey that lies ahead.
Don’t let that trick you into thinking there’s much of a storyline. Rather, it’s a parade of cabaret/burlesque acts, tied together by a theme. The most endearing aspect of the show is that they all appear to be having such fun and that makes it easy to be drawn in. It’s a group of naughty girls (and a priest) goofing around and taking us along to join in.
What ‘Church of Wonders’ does best is showcase each performer’s special talents. You want to see a priest do the splits? You’ll experience that. You want a hula-hooping nun? Sure, they have one. You want a sword-swallowing devil? There’s one of those too. You want to see what may have happened in the Garden of Eden? Then this is the show for you!
Craig Macbride is a Melburnian who doesn’t need a great deal of encouragement to go out and worship clever, semi-naked women.
‘Church of Wonders’ runs 24-27 September at The Melba Spiegeltent, Collingwood.
The venue is accessible.