Ah, the Eighties. That glorious decade of high fashion, big business, pop music the likes of which the world may never hear again, and the return to prominence of the dance movie. When Walkmans were all the rage and the bigger the shoulder pads the more important you were.
Based on this criterion our hostess Gloria (Chloe King) is very important indeed with shoulder pads that would make a third world dictator blush. Then again, that’s not the only part of Gloria’s routine that would make a person’s cheeks burn. The sexual innuendo flies thick and fast as the cabaret singer welcomes the audience into her ‘warm and wet glory hole’. It’s all in the name of saucy good fun as pulses race, smiles widen, cheers grow louder, and various audience members both male and female get a little extra attention in a way only Gloria can provide.
While recounting the highs and lows of the decade intermingled with her own hilarious personal experiences, Gloria belts out a roster of instantly recognisable pop classics. In this she is aided by Blondie (Mia Brine) on keyboards and guitar. Blondie never misses an opportunity to upstage Gloria much to the star’s instant annoyance.
Now, I’m a musical child of the eighties so any show that starts with a slightly rearranged working of the introduction to Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy - “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called Fringe” – is going to meet with my approval. To double up with pop royalty by next launching into a Queen song is positively going to have me in its clutches. Now, to be fair, Don’t Stop Me Now is NOT an eighties song. Gloria obviously sensed my discomfit at this fact by pointing out to the ‘pedants’ (I prefer the term ‘80s pop purist’!) in the audience that it was the launching pad for the decade to come.
A decade of Laura Branigan, The Human League, Yazoo, Madonna, The Divinyls (no prizes for guessing which song Gloria picked here!), Spandau Ballet, Whitney, Wham, and Bonnie Tyler. Then there were the dance movies – Fame, Dirty Dancing, Footloose and their ilk – that had their own musical highlights. All delivered with style, gusto and more than a dash of cheek. The audience loved it, even the ones squirming under Gloria’s rapacious gaze.
This is a fun show that engendered a raucous response as the packed Frisk Small Bar picked up on the slightly naughty, sexy vibe. From laminated photos of your favourite 80’s icons – Tony Hadley, Simon Le Bon, George Michael, and Princess Diana – to the playful flirting with the audience; to the full throated (yes, pun intended) delivery of songs you couldn’t help but sing along to this is an entertaining hour reliving a decade that was slightly cheesy, always over the top, but nothing less than fun.
Gloria’s Glorious Gloryhole is on at the Frisk Small Bar on Francis Street until 4 February.