Review: Drunken Cabaret – Timeout NY

Cristina Velocci, assistant features editor, Timeout NY

In this unusual performance, Australian writer-performer- musician Mark Storen examines the intersection of love and violence through original songs and anecdotes inspired by true news stories from around the world. Though the subject matter verges on the macabre, Storen manages to put a hilarious spin on hot-blooded murder; his bizarre expressions and spastic movements are as oddly fascinating as the ruthless tales he tells—lust-induced patricide, possessive fits of strangling—in front of a heart-shaped projection screen. (At one point, he drafts the audience into a sing-along of an amusing ditty called “Stab U”—dedicated to his wife. How sweet!) This multimedia performance is robust enough that you forget it’s a one-man show, and Storen’s charming Aussie accent tempers the frequent lewd bits (even if it causes a few things to get lost in translation). The topics may be deep and dark, but this is a lovely and lighthearted fling.


Review: Drunken Cabaret – New York 2009

Mark Storen’s A Drunken Cabaret
New York International Fringe Festival

reviewed by Peter Schuyler

Aug 15, 2009

“I want to love you, cut you into pieces, take you to the zookeeper and turn you into animal food. Am I being rude?” Crude, blasphemous, sophomoric, and nowhere near politically correct, Mark Storen’s A Drunken Cabaret is a hilarious hour-long musing on the dark, violent side of love. Written, acted, and directed by Storen (a native of Perth, Australia), the show is less an examination of the why behind the madness, but more a celebration of it. It’s a very specific type of humor, and it wasn’t for everyone in the audience. I certainly enjoyed it. The songs (all original) are clever and pithy, and Storen infuses real fun and soul into the evening. It’s not everyday you encounter a man who can write a ballad about bestiality and actually make it touching. It’s not just the songs that entertain, there are poetry recitations, some very aggressive dance, and, in the quieter moments, some very disturbing poems by Robert Browning and John Donne. Storen is a gifted ringmaster and keeps the audience engaged throughout, encouraging sing-along and never missing a beat, even when a few patrons left the theatre. It was their loss. They missed the ballad.

He makes the reconfigured Flamboyan Theatre (which has been morphed into a cozy cabaret space) very much his own. A large paper heart serves as the backdrop and projection screen for the show, framing the action and adding depth to the piece. The lighting is very impressive, especially considering the FringeNYC’s quick turnover. Really the only thing missing to complete the atmosphere was someone serving drinks. It should be noted there is a bar in the lobby.

As I said before, this kind of humor isn’t for everyone, but it certainly was for me. If you enjoy ribald tales of love gone horribly, horribly wrong, then you should definitely head down to the Flamboyan, have a drink, and spend an hour with Mark.

Producer: The Moxy Collective
Author: Mark Storen

Review: Drunken Cabaret – Perth 2009

THEATRE - A Drunken Cabaret
Written and performed by Mark Storen
Deckchair Theatre, Port Cinema

Review: Stephen Bevis/The West Australian

If Martyn Jacques ever pulled the pin from the Tiger Lillies, his two confreres could do a lot worse than give Mark Storen a call to replace him as the frontman of the outrageous Brechtian cabaret rock trio. A Talented Theatrical all-rounder, Storen has created a seductively grotesque character in the Ringmaster to guide the audience through this engagingly perverse tour of what can go wrong when obsessive love turns bad.

Storen presents a carnivalesque of unlovely love and murder inspired by actual events from around the globe in this provocative 60- minute drunken romp driven by his characterisations and self penned songs.

In between transformative swigs of booze, his knowing buffoon Ringmaster summons up the spirits of William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Nick Cave and even Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron of World War 1, who led to one of the highlights of the show.

Said to be a distant relative of the Red Baron himself, Brazilian woman Suzanne von Richthofen was jailed for 40 years for killing her parents with the help of her boyfriend. Storen’s cock-rock murder ballad in her honour, Killer Suzanne, was thrilling and poignant.

Another tale about a lonely organ grinder and his pet monkey added complexity to the shock factor as well.

Storen first performed  A Drunken Cabaret at The Wild West Comedy Festival last year and has since taken it to the Melbourne and Adelaide fringe festivals.

It would be best appreciated in a legitimately seedy cabaret venue, where his disarmingly confrontational style would work to best effect.

He had to work extra hard to generate any atmosphere in Fremantle’s old Port Cinema but was ably supported by Shane Adamczak, who operated the lights and controls for the pre-recorded instrumental and vocal backing that at times gave the music a full ensemble effect.