Tucked away on the second floor of South Brisbane’s Fox Hotel you’ll find Fish Lane Creative Studios. For the next few days, this quirky arts space will be the Anywhere Festival home of Conversations with Goddesses, a mixed media cabaret presented by Louise McCabe.
Keeping an open mind is one of the key things I’ve learned to do when watching Anywhere Festival shows – you won’t always be seeing things that are geared towards you, or that you will enjoy, but just because it isn’t for you, doesn’t mean there isn’t someone in that room that’s loving every moment. That’s exactly the vibe I got from Conversations with Goddesses, an oddly watchable mix of karaoke, costume changes, and Powerpoint presentations – it’s not for me, but I wasn’t the only person in the room.
Through the guises of five different goddesses, from several different ancient cultures, creator Louise McCabe offers advice and empowerment. Aphrodite and her musings on love, sex, and self worship; Persephone and how it’s okay to cry; Diana and being one with nature; Quan Yin and compassion; Morrigan and… well, I’m still a little unsure on that one, but the wig was cool. Working with her trusty assistant Technophilia (Goddess of Wi-Fi), McCabe offers 90 minutes of singing, belly dancing, and awkward audience participation that I found enjoying despite myself.
There’s some genuinely funny moments and a few excellent one-liners, and a quieter performance as Persephone, singing a beautiful song in French really showcases McCabe’s abilities, but all in all, it’s a distinctly amateurish and, perhaps, a little self-indulgent performance. I’m not sure that McCabe is as strong a singer as she thinks she is, and a few technical muck-ups along the way slowed things down a little, yet judging by the reactions of the audience (a demographic made up largely of women around McCabe’s age), it was a rousing success.
This is due in no small part to McCabe herself, who combines infectious enthusiasm and a lust for life with an absolute belief in what she’s trying to sell. A few bum notes and a cringeworthy dance scene or two can easily be forgiven, because McCabe is having an absolute ball up on stage. Every line she spouts about empowerment and self belief and being your own goddess is reinforced by what she’s doing herself, and it’s hard not to respect that, or get caught up in it. We all find strength somewhere, and someone is bound to find a little bit of it here.
Reviewer attended the May 10th performance
Conversations with Goddesses finishes its run at Fish Lane Creative Studios on May 12th, with shows starting at 7.30pm.
Fish Lane Creative Studios is located on level 2 of The Fox Hotel, South Brisbane, right beside the Cultural Centre busway.