Daily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Trevor Jones, Lecturer in Musical Theatre, Griffith University
Mother's Ruin is a stellar, gin-soaked cabaret

Review: Mother’s Ruin, Brisbane Festival

At first glance, a cabaret show about a beverage seems an unlikely vehicle for a socio-political, feminist discussion. But, cloaked in extraordinary musical arrangements, this is precisely what Maeve Marsden, Libby Wood, Jeremy Brennan and their collaborators have achieved with Mother’s Ruin: A Cabaret About Gin.

To paraphrase Marsden: when you are three songs in and you’re already discussing government control and feminist propaganda, you know you’re in for quite a ride!

This “60 minute theatrical cabaret”, written as a collaboration between Marsden, Wood and Brennan as well as gin enthusiast Elly Brennan (The Ginstress) and director Anthea Williams, comes to Brisbane after sold out seasons around Australia and internationally. The show features music originally performed by Sia, The Pretenders, Martha Wainwright and more with cleverly reworked lyrics to tell the history of the sometimes maligned and sometimes celebrated drink.

Read more: No, enjoying a gin and tonic doesn't mean you're a psychopath

The most notable element of this show is the incredible detail that has gone into every element of the performance. From the cocktail shaker maraca to the set consisting mostly of a huge assortment of empty gin bottles, this is extremely finely-crafted cabaret.

The historical research is astounding, weaving tales of how gin was demonised by the beer lobby in 18th Century London, and the development of tonic as a cure for malaria in colonial South America. Gin and tonic came to be paired by British officers in India in the early 19th century to make the medicinal quinine more palatable for soldiers in the British East India Company.

The local story of Merle Thornton’s stand at Brisbane’s Regatta Hotel in the fight for “drinks for women” was particularly well received on opening night. Thornton and her friend Rosalie Bogner chained themselves to the public bar in 1965 to protest the laws against women drinking in these bars in Queensland hotels. The law was eventually revoked in 1970.

Musically, there is a stunning range of colour in the singing and arrangements. The harmony work from Marsden, Wood and Brennan is particularly beautiful. Some of the musical highlights included Wood’s hilarious “malarial burlesque” reading of Peggy Lee’s Fever, Marsden’s moving rendition of Martha Wainwright’s Bloody Mother F—ing Asshole from the perspective of an Australian housewife seeking solace in a bottle of gin, and a gorgeous a capella arrangement of The Pretender’s Hymn To Her.

The comedic timing is well-oiled after two years of regular touring and the jokes have lost none of their punch. A rap about the origin of gin, some rousing audience singalong moments and a virtuosic list of an impressive number of gins in the closing song “I’ve Drunk Every Gin, Man” keep the laughs rolling between the serious elements of the show.

A running joke in which the women regularly produce small bottles of gin from their secret storage space is perfectly brought home in the finale.

Mother’s Ruin is a stellar example of how cabaret as an art form can be informative, provocative, beautiful and hilarious all at once.

Mother’s Ruin is being staged at La Boite until September 22.

Authors: Trevor Jones, Lecturer in Musical Theatre, Griffith University

Read more http://theconversation.com/mothers-ruin-is-a-stellar-gin-soaked-cabaret-103518

Writers Wanted

My best worst film: dubbed a crass Adam Sandler comedy, Click is a deep meditation on relationships


As the Queensland campaign passes the halfway mark, the election is still Labor's to lose


Two High Court of Australia judges will be named soon – unlike Amy Coney Barrett, we know nothing about them


The Conversation


Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Business News

Important Instagram marketing tips

Instagram marketing is one of the most important approaches for digital advertisers. If you want to promote products online, then Instagram along with Facebook is the perfect option. After Faceboo...

News Co - avatar News Co

Top 3 Accident Law Firms of Riverside County, CA

Do you live in Riverside County and faced an accident and now looking for a trusted Law firm to present your case? If yes, then you have come to the right place. The purpose of the article is to...

News Co - avatar News Co

3 Ways to Keep Your Business Safe with Roller Shutters

If you operate your business in a neighbourhood or city that is not known for being a safe environment, it is not surprising if you often worry about the safety of your business establishments o...

News Co - avatar News Co

News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion