By Michael Dalley (World Premiere). High Performance Company (Vic). Forty-Five Downstairs, Melbourne. Devised and Performed by Paul McCarthy and Michael Dalley. Music: John Thorn and Michael Dalley. Design: Joel West. August 1-19, 2012.

Mademoiselle is a whirlwind of political incorrectness. Michael Dalley’s witty hour-long script had the packed audience in Flinders Lane laughing and gasping in its assault on the “lower middle-class”.

Michael Dalley and Paul McCarthy feature as two effeminate man-servants of a certain Mademoiselle, who get creative in her absence in “an orgy of ridicule” and “a litany of abuse”. The irony of their relentless and superior sneering is that it’s dished out at the expense of their own social class, even as they attempt to position themselves apart from it.

Irreverent songs linked by spoken segues, cover subjects including the secrets in people’s garbage, human faecal waste, debutante balls at suburban function centres, telling the truth, passive-aggressive Amway sellers, Sub-Continental call centre operators, “creative” name-spelling, and.…, well…, things I daren’t write here.

A few minor discrepancies early in the performance did not detract from well-paced and fearless delivery. The songs, adeptly accompanied by John Thorn, were a laugh–a-couplet, and the set, featuring a toilet set-off with lolly-pink curtains, sets the tone.

If you’re in anyway prudish about crude language, sexual innuendo, or blacklisted physiological terminology this show is not for you. Perhaps I should be disturbed then that I found it so very funny.

Lucy Graham

Image: Michael Dalley and Paul McCarthy. Photographer: Ponch Hawkes.

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