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Finucaine and Smith continue to amaze audiences with their spectacular shows.
Anyone au fait with the cabaret scene will be familiar with the work of dynamic duo Moira
Finucaine and Jackie Smith, whose productions have garnered them praise from critics
and audiences the world over . e pair, who are partners in both work and play have been
cra ing unique stories for the stage for close to twenty years. eir latest production, Glory Box
has been dubbed Burlesque Hour meets Pandora's Box and promises to deliver audiences a sump-
tuous cocktail of exotic performance, grand guignol and backroom ballet -- in short a spectacle of
Finucaine and Smith have lured a veritable who's who of the burlesque/vaudeville scene to take
part in Glory Box. Everyone from one of the last surviving female sword swallowers, Guinness
Book of Records holder and international sweetheart of sideshow Miss Behave; to London and
Spain's cult cabaret star Ursula Martinez to Meow Meow the international cabaret kamikaze sen-
sation, to literary legend, author of e Slap, Christos Tsiolkas -- all putting it on the line for this
genre busting duo.
Finucaine, who came from what she describes as a "scienti c family" took up a career on the
stage almost by accident. Having spent years training as an environmental scientist, then working
as a lobbyist for conser vation and international human rights, Finucaine took up the performance
cause a er a particularly arduous session of parliament le her feeling spent. She recalls: I was
sitting under a potted palm at Canberra airport a er a gruelling lobbying session at Parliament
House where I had been called Joan of Arc , and not in a good way" she says. "A friend of mine who
was part of a very hip Polish theatre group came up and said 'You look terrible'.
'I know' I said.
'What will you do?' said she.
'I'm going to quit' said I.
'And then what will you do?'
'I thought I would try doing acting' just popped out of my mouth -- it has never occurred to
'You'd be great' she said 'it's so stressful, but then you get a break'.
"Four hours later we hopped o another ight, and I was determined to give it a go. I was living
in a share house in Fitzroy with the usual array of suspects ; aspiring lm-maker, aspiring director,
and aspiring politician, and I told the director that I wanted to 'try doing acting'. She immediately
suggested I audition for her Fringe Festival Play, cast me as the lead in Dorothy Hewitt's Chapel
Perilous, and I still have the clipping that describes my insolent schoolgirl swagger."
ese days Finucaine's performances are equally acclaimed -- and she's lost none of the swag-
ger. While she may have come to the theatre arena late, she admits she's always had a fascination
for "old style entertainment genres. All those historic forms: music hall, burlesque, cabaret, grand
guignol, variety, Cantonese Opera, storytelling, Tishu Engaki' Japanese downtown public face
theatre' , they all share a seduction, a capacity to draw an audience out of their everyday lives and
take them on an adventure. ey make the audience feel special, they prioritise the audience; they
are, in other words, entertaining."
Finucaine believes that this combination of entertainment and politics is powerful.
"If you take care of people," explains Finucaine, "if you make them feel special and cherished
you can take them anywhere. at is the core of what we do, mime old style entertainment genres
and meld them into indelible visions of humanity, liberation, oppression and desire.
"We have just been in tiny community halls and mechanics institutes in Gippsland, bring the
radical and transgressive work of e Burlesque Hour to farmers, shermen, entire communities,
and they are up for it! Because it's entertaining because we take care of them, because we go to
every length to make them feel special, we have been able to have Kamahi Djordon King dressed
as the velvet voice of the North, profoundly handsome in a tux, sing 'Fly Me to the Moon' in
Gurindji and the stolen generation anthem 'Brown Skin Baby ey Take 'im Away' and people
received it, they love it, they loved us. Entertainment is like an electricity cord, it can take power
anywhere. You just have to have the power that you want to deliver at the source of it."
So how would she describe a Finucane & Smith show to the uninitiated?
" e house of Finucane and Smith creates legendary salons, intimate theatrical spectacles and
provocative variety; hijacking myriad artforms, engaging unique and extraordinary artists and
pecking the eyes out of old style entertainment genres to create indelible visions of liberation,
humanity, power and desire."
Glory Box plays from June 7 -- July 1 @ forty vedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.
Bookings 03 9662 9966
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