Mother's Ruin: A Cabaret About Gin

Songs, gin history and a free drink make for a fun show

★★★
cabaret review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Mother's Ruin
Published 09 Aug 2017

There's gin everywhere. On top of the piano, on a drinks trolley, and tucked down the front of the performers' dresses. It's only fitting for a fun, informative cabaret about gin.

All of the songs in the show have had their lyrics gin-ified by the trio of Australian performers. Whether it's country and western, contemporary pop or cabaret standards, Libby, Maeve and Tom have re-written the words. Some of the changes are cringeworthy puns, but others are much more witty and clever.

There's a good balance between music and text, and the chronological history of gin provides some structure. This isn’t adhered to throughout and it neglects more recent history, though. Starting in 1729 London where women made gin out of turpentine and wood chips, the subsequent timeline takes a wonderfully feminist angle. It suits a beverage dubbed "mother's ruin" by the government in order to stop women from behaving badly.

The performers are charismatic, with just the right amount of self-deprecation. They also have great voices, and work the crowd well. Some of the audience interaction is a bit uncomfortable—a gentleman in the front row receives a lap dance whether he likes it or not—but a sing-a-long is more inclusive.

This is cabaret that generally gives a good mix of content, even if it doesn’t fully follow through. But a free G&T certainly helps sweeten the deal.