The Courier-Mail

Fes­ti­val best gig in town, bar none

- BELINDA SEENEY

NOT since Tom Cruise shook and stirred on the sil­ver screen have there been cock­tail mak­ers with such panache.

Quar­tet the Swiz­zle Boys are part bar­tender, part per­former and all show­men play­ing star­ring roles in Bris­bane Fes­ti­val’s late night Spiegel­tent show, Club Swiz­zle.

The cheeky cabaret by the cre­ators of La Soiree, which sold out its two Bris­bane Fes­ti­val sea­sons in 2012 and 2013, is one of more than a dozen shows spot­lighted in the fes­ti­val’s open­ing week­end.

San Fran­cisco per­former Joren Daw­son mes­merised fes­ti­val-go­ers last year with his aerial an­tics in fam­ily hit Soap, and now he is back in Bris­bane in the adults-only cabaret.

“We pretty much start dressed as bar­tenders,” Daw- son, 24, said. “I like to mess with the idea of peo­ple not quite know­ing what they’re see­ing when they walk in. There’s no ob­vi­ous stage, just this great, old-world bar so peo­ple min­gle be­fore the show and we serve them drinks.”

Show­go­ers would be wise to tip the bar­tenders as Daw­son, along with Tom Flana­gan, Ben Lewis and DJ Garner, are re­spon­si­ble for de­cid­ing who gets front row seats. Then, when the cabaret-cir­cus-bur­lesque hy­brid be­gins, the shirts come off and the show goes on.

By con­trast, Bel­gium-based bur­lesque artist Lau­rie Ha­gen starts out shirt­less be­fore per-

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