There is something magical about the Speigeltent – could it be the sound of words escaping through curled moustaches? The bowler-hatted ushers? The pillars made of mirrors? The “Something Wicked this Way Comes” style circus tent promises more than fairy floss and family entertainment… I have witnessed performances by La Clique (aerial bathtub circus-y feats of human strength and beauty), Tripod, Iota in his acclaimed cabaret Smoke and Mirrors (back this year for a return season at this year’s Sydney Festival)… so it stands to reason that Eddie Perfect’s new show Misanthropology is included in this venue.

Known to some as the duel embodiment of Downer/Hewson from Neil Armfield’s production of Keating! The Musical, Eddie Perfect is also the creator and performer of Warne The Musical and recent TV series “Offspring.” With a blond spiky quiff, a swag of experience Eddie is the consumate Melbournite cabaret performer with a scallywag persona and a penchant for “segway kicks” and singing about whatever a 30-year-old man wants to – titties and penises. For those who only know his TV persona they may find this incantation of Eddie Perfect alarmingly offensive – perhaps that’s what inspired some of the walk out’s last night? Directed by Craig Illot (also the director of Smoke and Mirrors) this is a punchy, chunky, bold and unapologetic cabaret designed to offend and expose the foibles of modern well-to-do society.

Plunged into darkness, shards of lights slice through the Speigeltent -a god-voice announces a very condensed and casual account of the beginning of the universe. From the millions upon billions of years live has been developing and evolving- we have arrived as advanced as we can be – so advanced and evolved we have become complete jerks. And this is the premise of the show… All rants, all epic prog-rock anthems (skillfully supported by a trio of snazzy musos) are about how disappointing the general species is: with their eco-lodges, their competitive self-righteous cycling tendencies, and even theatre practitioners got a serve (Yes Barrie Kosky -you’ve inspired a song!)

For me – Perfect’s show is a powerful rant – a list of the bourgeois ills of the world. His skill as a composer and musician can not be underestimated and his capacity to bash out a song leaves other song’n’piano comedians (Tim Minchin – that’s you) a little in his wake. But, there is something a little safe about Perfect’s rants. Perhaps it’s his audience is already there with him… We agree, it IS disgusting how fathers buy their daughter’s fake breasts. Yes, Kerri-Anne Kennerley is a misogynist dinosaur. Yes. It’s true. We think you are right, Eddie. And? So? What now?

He’s not nerdy. He’s not gay. He doesn’t wear lots of eyeliner. He’s not a lunatic. Eddie is pretty normal, middleclass, white guy – the kind of guy who was probably pretty popular at school – and who always got the girl – and who has done pretty well for himself. In fact, he’s pretty cool guy, by all appearances. So there is a little bit of the counter-culture power missing from his rants… he’s not outside society so much by the looks of it… I guess what I am identifying is the fact that Eddie feels mainstream and commercial to me. Which is more than fine (I really don’t think art or entertainment should be hamstrung by funding arrangements or pretentiousness) – but that bitching about the mainstream when you are mainstream is unattractive, or insincere or a bit hypocritical… and the rant is missing the cute, the naieve, the joyful and the playfulness of being self aware that THAT is what you are eg. Stuff White People Like written by a white guy who is appalled but laughing about it – is easy to enjoy. This is aimed at infuriating the middleclass and the wealthy and the pretentious. It’s a pity none of them will be seeing it (I think they are booked into see Malkovich?) as it is aimed to piss them off. Instead we, the unpretentious and theatre going public can afford to be pushed a little beyond our comfort zone of laughing at the rich. He’s a great performer. No doubt. Unfortunately after an amazing finale number the encore was somewhat sombre and a little bit tender – which didn’t really book end the performance with the same awe and chuckles of the opening rant. And this sat strangely separate from the rest of the show.

When I was a teenager heading to a show/party at midnight seemed naughty and exclusive. In my twenties – it was commonplace. Now that I am in my thirties there is a certain amount of rebel/witching hour feel to heading to a cabaret show full of blue words and words for titties. And that is exciting – and that time slot is fun… something naughty and if you live in Mosman and hold conservative/wanky/pretentious/misogynist views – you’ll love hating this show.