Tribute

In this show Ruth Wilkin treated us to a delightful evening of, what she called in this muggy heat, "bikram cabaret". One woman in red high heels, and a pink tank glittered with the phrase "Famous ★", sweating it out as she welcomes us to sing along with her, but never to sing louder than her.

Tribute is a solid show, which parodies the rise-and-fall narrative of many an artist, ranging from Britney and Bono to Madonna and Cher and beyond. And Wilkin is a terrific diva and host, engaging the audience from word go with her fun and infectious brand of frenetic energy. The jokes hit their mark, the audience gets into the swing, and soon enough everyone is reaching for their glow-sticks to wave along to the "hits".

Wilkin has a strong and resonant singing voice, but unfortunately her original compositions are fairly stock-standard, never reaching the heights of a straight-to-VHS Disney: it's all more high school musical than High School Musical. Still, Wilkin does deserve points for really throwing herself into the broad corniness of it all, with such highlights as the comedic fadeout gag, her celebrity-memoir photoshop mime, and the aside about the "Off-Off-Off-Off-Off Broadway production of Rent or some shit."

The idea to do a tribute show for tribute shows is an ingenious one, but Wilkin ultimately doesn't take it to very interesting places. She frequently opts for generic meta-observations, or else shifts focus to pillory sitcoms and talent shows, which undermines the artfulness of her satire. At other times, her jabs fail to break the skin – calling your fanclub "The Little Fansters" is an obvious riff on Gaga's "Little Monsters", but then nothing is done with that joke. No follow-up roasting of their social media shenanigans, nor any eye-rolling at the excesses of their Gaga worship. It's all very hands-off.

The show is fun, though, and if Ruth Wilkin takes a bit of a relaxed approach in her social commentary, she is still a delightful performer. A recommend if you're after some light easy entertainment.

★★★