Saturday, October 24, 2020



Created and performed by Adam Dusien, Jazida and Noa Rotem. Produced by Chenoeh Miller. A Belco Arts Production.  The Theatre. Belconnen Arts Centre. October 22-23. 2020

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins


Enter the world of cabaret, of hopes and dreams, disillusionment and fear in search of love, of intimacy and the light that shines on the sweet taste of success. Created and performed by Adam Deusien, Jazida and Noa Rotem, Intimacy begs the question, “How can we find and maintain intimacy and connection at a time of a global pandemic and social distancing that keeps us apart?”

 Three performers, so very different and yet connected through their art, reach out to each other to find comfort and solace in a world that seeks to protect by keeping people apart.  The setting is a cabaret room. In the dim light one watches a woman dance, driven by impulse, possessed. One can just make out a figure on a table and another in the smoky lighting before a mirror. Nearby a clothes rack displays the costumes of the cabaret, the boas, the feathers, the tulle dresses and the clothes that hark back to the era of the Weimar cabaret. Tiffany Abbott’s costumes and set design complemented by Linda Buck’s atmospheric lighting design conjures the mystique of Berlin cabaret. It is there in the Martha Grahame movements of Noa Rotem before the show starts, reminiscent of an early Dietrich she moves with the searching longing of a lost soul. Through the dark, Kandor and Ebb’s soulful song Marriage from Cabaret  can be heard faintly as overture to this carefully devised, choreographed and staged quest to bring the different performers together. 

 With only six days to shape their search for intimacy in a distanced world, it is not surprising that the cabaret, in true tradition, focused on the individual talents of the skilled artists, and used the time to concentrate on a very tight choreography and physicality of interaction. Adam Dusien’s agonized lip-synched rendition of Sally Bowles’s Maybe This Time from Cabaret paints the painful scene of desperate dreams. Bewitching burlesque performer, Jazida, teases and enchants with her cheeky striptease and beautifully executed and exotic fan dance before the mirrors.  All three tread the cautious path towards physical intimacy, culminating in the eroticism of the shredded leaves and lascivious devouring of the cabbage.  Less sensuous than an apple or a pear, the cabbage lends itself to the ridiculous comedy of human sexuality.  Too drawn out is the repetition of a sequence of attraction as the couples come together.   Male and female climax their intimacy in orgasmic delight. Female and female discover a gentler intimacy cradled in each other’s arms. Both seek satisfaction in the fundamental need for human contact and intimacy.

Rotem brings the cabaret to a close with Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem, Two Countries to remind us that “skin is not alone” and  “that people go places larger than themselves”, a sentiment that closes the show with Leonard Cohen’s haunting  Dance Me To The End of Love.

Intimacy is cabaret with heart. Three performer/collaborators take us on a journey to reach out for the light in the darkness. Whatever loneliness we feel, whatever desires we crave, whatever dark despair we confront this simple, honest cabaret reminds us that we are not alone.