Review: The Dalton Sisters (The Space, online)

“”Welcome to Honey Bliss Cabaret!” says Coco to Salome, a house wife who urgently needs a place to sleep and some money to make it through the week.”

Music and mystery collide in this spicy show from Two Flats Theatre, performed at The Space and viewed in its digital version. With choreography by Sofia Canosa, the movement is sexy, fluid and languid.

Making the most of an extensive stage (design by Ronja Ritter) which is carefully cluttered with the paraphernalia of the burlesque and the everyday, with a space for performance, this is a witty 90-minute piece from a female-led, LGBTQ+ ensemble.

Production image for The Dalton Sisters

The time is the late 1960s, the start of female liberation, and yet these women still perform for men to keep their heads above water. As Salome finds herself part of the act, what can she find out both about herself and about the sisters she has joined?

With a feel of the Kit Kat Club and the sense of the detective’s constant snoop, this sisterhood of ladies playing on their own terms is funny, frothy, and fiery.

June (Regev Amit), Coco (Vilma Kitula) and Ellie (Monika Matosevic) are tight-lipped about the fate of former dancer Rue, especially when one detective inspector Ivy comes calling to reopen the case. What caused her accident, and who might be responsible, adds the whodunnit part.

Screencap from The Dalton Sisters

Punctuated by songs performed by Melanie Muller (who plays Salome), The Dalton Sisters might wear its sparkles on its sleeves, but they are not as dazzling as they first appear.

Written and directed by Magali Jeger, this piece brings women together in what was still a man’s world, where scanty clothes and a cheeky shimmy pulled in a certain kind of crowd.

Of the performers in the burlesque (“we’re not strippers”), June seems to have more to hide, but is Coco’s calm exterior just that, a front? And what is Salome running away from?

As Ivy (Felix Ryder, co-writer of the music with Muller) tries to untangle matters relating to the unfortunate Rue’s accident, matters get truly meshed. In one clumsy and amusing sequence, Madame Ellie, attempts to seduce him, but she eventually proves her mettle.

A truly international cast with origins in Israel, Finland, Croatia, and Germany, give The Dalton Sisters a note of authenticity of women arriving in a new place and striking out within their own freedom.

The Dalton Sisters played at The Space in May 2022. For more on Two Flats Theatre, go here.

****

Production images: Two Flats Theatre

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