As the usual Sydney crowd shuffles like well-dressed cattle into The Studio of the opera house, we pass a sign which warns of adult themes, coarse language and nudity. Which is more of a confirmation of what we may suspect seeing as their marketing materials have the New York Times quoted as saying they are “Irreverent, sacrilegious, foulmouthed and uninhibited.” The prim Opera House ushers are joined by two slightly sparkly “school girls” offering communion wafers to patrons as they enter. While the punters find their seats at tables or in the “safer” upper seating areas, the sisters and their assistants mingle with the guest, welcoming us in a sly Southern drawl. We were accosted momentarily, and after a quick chat where I welcomed her to Sydney, she left me with a passing suggestion for us to loosen up a little and have a nice time.

Before long – the mayhem begins with a Catholic schoolgirl strip tease and some very impressive handstands.

It’s fun. It’s fun and magnificent to see the strength and the spectacle of these two performers. It certainly starts with a Bang! We are asked to brace ourselves – “we’re not dirty, we’re filthy” and asked via a show of hands who is Catholic. That’s as deep as the Last Supper references go. The bits that follow are beer fueled one liners laced with innuendos and humorous titillation about orgies, and releasing sexual repression, and confessing one’s secret desires. They swing from catholic schoolgirls/church, to kissing half-sister cowgirls, to astrology (a very long bow is drawn) including a rather incongruous audience participation session, then to a nod towards the ancient Greek myth of Pan and Echo, then to cave women on a trapeze – then back to the Last Supper.

As a show, I have the impression that much of it may be a “best of” compilation from their time with La Clique and other variety nights… and not really linked to the irreverence or the blasphemy we are promised. Famed for their audience participation strip tease, (yes we did oblige one of the Wau waus in releasing herself from a pair of undies with the words FUCK written on the front and YEAH written on the back). Nothing i haven’t done before – nor seen before… and they are utterly charming and friendly – who wouldn’t oblige. That being said, there were some cringe worthy moments throughout the show – cringe worthy because the audience members who they had chosen to participate seemed to enjoy the attention of making their Opera House debut too much – and made the segments look like bucks night antics (not sexy or fun to watch). Interestingly enough to note that these petite ladies were able to lift (with their legs) the most huge and tall men form the audience , and yet the very same men could not reciprocate in lifting these ladies for very long. Which goes to show, these women are superior beings.

As a burlesque duo – the tease was blown in the first song – and then overly satisfied in the last act. As singers/songwriters – the lyrics could have gone much further. The idea of being Irreverent and saucy about god is a great one – which was not fully realized or plumbed… that being said, this show had an audience which was pretty tough – white middle class, middle aged intelligentsia and may not have been ready for the full baptismal immersion by the Wau Wau Sisters.
The most impressive section was the trapeze act -incredible feats of strength, trust, agility, fitness and creativity- Wow! And that’s really what makes them interesting – a girly burlesque circus: an awesome niche. The other material (the stand up/songs) needed to be harder and faster, deeper, smarter to elevate it above the bucks-night tone.

Sitting at Table U... we got more than we bargained for

Sitting at Table U... we got more than we bargained for