Fringe Review: Mother's Ruin: A Cabaret About Gin

Words by  Freya Langley

It's 7:15 on a Tuesday, an Adelaide crowd shuffles in. It's a sold out opening night at the Garden, for a cabaret all about gin. Ok, but seriously, if Billy Joel singalongs and infinite gin puns are your thing, then Mother’s Ruin: A Cabaret About Gin is the tonic to your gin. 

Featuring two charismatic and talented vocalists and a clever sidekick pianist, Mother’s Ruin is a must see for gin junkies and fans of musical parody. Opening with a recital of the Lord’s Prayer, but with all the God bits swapped out for clever gin puns - London dry as is in Plymouth. The two chanteuses, along with their pianist take their audience by their hands, hearts and livers on a cleverly constructed, hysterical history of the infamous botanical spirit.

Inspired by the recent "gin renaissance", the trio of “two ladies and three crazies” have developed a truly funny and engaging cabaret, adopting a vast range of roles throughout the performance. The history follows gin from its birth as a medicinal tonic, to a naval strength liquor, to a bathtub brew in the prohibition era and the gin-trification of the spirit and its pedestal in trendy bars today. Parts of gin’s history are dark and miserable, but the trio does well to ensure their performance is anything but. 

Tales of barmaids, bastards, crusty old law makers and sailors are intertwined with the music of Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone, The Pretenders and many more. Often these songs were altered beyond recognition, and required a strong degree of familiarity with the artists. With the hilarious inclusion of “malarial burlesque” to Fever, which served as compensation for the cringeworthy rap that followed. At times, the parody and wordplay was a little too heavy-handed and came across kitsch and lost its comedic value. However, the trio ultimately delivered an intelligent, funny and entertaining history lesson cross cabaret. Rounding off their performance with a clever parody of Johnny Cash’s 'I've Been Everywhere', the three gin connoisseurs listed off an unimaginable number of gins from around the world. 

Mother’s Ruin: A Cabaret About Gin is showing at the Garden of Unearthly Delights every night until Sunday March 12th. Tickets via FringeTix