Anya Anastasia: Rogue Romantic

While her stagehands, an eclectic mix of glam-goth musicians, sweep the stage around her, Anastasia lays slumped in red across her baby grand. She's surprised to see us, and her rush to fix herself up and hurry to her spotlight sets the tone for the show: glamourous and chaotic, with a hint of pathos. In a red ball gown, long gloves and surprisingly banging heels, she looks very part the romantic cabaret femme fatale. But Anastasia is something different. Beneath her flirting and teasing, playing on old-school tropes of floosy, fleeting love, and dashed and crushing hopes, her writing is sharp, full of excellent word play and aversions to heteronormativity, which both play homage to her roots and thrust the genre very much into the 21st century.

Anastasia is playful and charming, and her capable vocals echo the highs and lows of love and sex. The pun-tastic calypso apocalypse song, "Apocaplypso", plays with the drinking culture of dating, and her reversal of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl stereotype and subsequent search for Alejandro, her dream man, playfully questions our expectations for a partner. Most of her laughs come from audience interaction, picking on men and women alike as her newest "true love, for now". Though, while this self-effacing, hopeless-in-love routine works most of the time, the material is stretched as far as it can, and by the end of the show it edges at becoming too much more of the same.

Nevertheless, Anastasia remains charming and alluring, keeping her audience laughing throughout. Her backing band are excellent, playing her cynical lackeys while also keeping the energy high.

★★★½