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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Cabaret Night Fever at The Butterfly Club - 50 minutes

An eclectic comedian and singer with a working-class style and a potty mouth, MJ Wilson sets us up for a show about love … and horses.


With a pleasant, mellifluous voice, he proceeds to warble Elton John’s Your Song.


Changing tone, he makes light of what he calls his “dribbling” and speech impediment (which I couldn’t hear).

Photos by Suzanne Phoenix


MJ intones that he recently took an acting class, where they were hung up on the likes of Pinter and Shakespeare.


An imposing soliloquy follows.


He maintains that Shakespeare made a lot of famous speeches about horses.


That somehow leads him to Peter Allen’s Tenterfield Saddler and “wacky tobacky”, complete with glazed eyes.


MJ talks about his struggles to find a psychologist who “gets him”, leading to meditation and the development of a new fragrance line.


Off the back of that comes a visual gag and harsh words about Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.


Kylie Minogue’s I Should Be So Lucky gets a look in, as does an eggplant.


MJ shares an espresso martini with a blow-up plastic sex dummy (think “Otto” from the 1980 film Flying High) and proceeds to have his way with “her”. Confronting? Absolutely!


Mind you, her deflation leaves him with a desperate and hollow feeling.


It sees him turn to “Siri” for answers.


Commentary about Russian leader Vladimir Putin, naked from the waist up on horseback, is also in MJ’s repertoire.


Thereafter, he discards his Back to the Future t-shirt and bomber jacket for a “more appropriate” tribute to Victoria Bitter.

MJ lets us in on his “origins” in Frankston in the ‘70s and his dysfunctional, alcoholic family that has bad taste is soft furnishings.


He unloads on fellow stand-up comedian Tom Gleeson and points us in the direction of Eddie Jaku’s book The Happiest Man on Earth.


A brief sing along, which includes the theme from the hit TV comedy Friends, wraps up the 50-minute set.


It is important to add that sound technician John Jenkin has an important role to play in MJ’s routine.


Wilson’s show is a licorice all sorts. You never know what is coming next.


For the keen eyed, at the back of the room, MJ has brought with him several small inflatable “friends”.


What to make of all of this? Who knows. If audience belly laughs are anything to go by, this performer connects with “the common man”.


Personally, I would have liked more adherence to theme.


Cabaret Night Fever is on at The Butterfly Club until 24th June, 2023.

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