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Tina Del Twist: Head Held High

Emmyrose Hobbs

MELBOURNE CABARET FESTIVAL: Wes Snelling's drag diva alter-ego returns with a brand new show.
Tina Del Twist: Head Held High
Being a performer who has entertained crowds in New York, Copenhagen and Berlin, expectation was high for the latest show by Melbourne’s aging, alcoholic nightingale, Tina Del Twist (a memorable character embodied by cabaret artist Wes Snelling) and she sure didn’t disappoint on Wednesday night.

Performing without reservation, Tina tells tales about her life as a showgirl and takes her audience along for the ride with her breathtaking ability to fill a room with the sound of her voice.

Presented in the Liber Room as part of the second annual Melbourne Cabaret Festival, the show made the most of the space, with the intimate venue complimenting this highly interactive performance. If you’re expecting to come along and view quietly from the corner, then this is where one should sit.

As passionate as she is funny, Tina combines comedy, characterisation and musicality, leaving audiences wanting more. Taking little breaks between her quirky dancing and powerful singing, she made sure there was time to have a chat and most importantly, a chance to drink her seemingly endless supply of red wine.

With a polished band, consisting of a bassist, guitarist and drummer, it was clear that the show was very well rehearsed, with her musicians well aware of Tina’s giddy but aloof nature. The instrumental touch was loud and bold where necessary but quiet and alluring where Tina needed to tell a blue tale.

It was a bold, entertaining and at times emotive experience of life as a show girl, and the audience didn’t want it to end. There wasn’t a straight face in the room by the end of the night, with some people even lingering about hoping to catch a glance of the diva one last time after the encore.

It’s just a shame that Head Held High didn’t have a longer season, as audiences shouldn’t miss out on this fabulous show.

Rating: Four stars

Tina del Twist: Head Held High
Written and performed by Wes Snelling and Stephen Weir
The Liber Room, South Melbourne
Season concluded

Melbourne Cabaret Festival
July 19 - 24

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Emmyrose Hobbs works for Inscribe Magazine, Voiceworks, and was an Associate Producer of the Emerging Writers' Festival 2011. She wants to live inside the arts but she'll settle for writing about it.