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Em Rusciano: Difficult Woman – Review
Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2018

When I sit down to write a review, I usually follow a self-imposed formula; loose but well-worn [this is starting to sound suspiciously like a metaphor for my vagina but it’s not I promise. Well it wasn’t, until I made it into one… you’re welcome]. This set of sub conscious guidelines laid out before me, probably by a university lecturer or high school teacher years ago, I’ve blindly followed because I was told that’s how it’s supposed to be done. But after leaving Em Rusciano: Difficult Woman, I feel like there are no rules, no formula, no set of unspoken guidelines in the back of my mind that I simply cannot deviate from; that I can [nay should!] just say what I want to say, how I want to say it.

And that’s exactly what Em did in her one night only show at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Part stand up, part kick ass lady-boss concert [avec 18 piece band no less!! Because if you’re going to say ‘f*ck’ a lot, why the hell not do it accompanied by your own horn section!!] Amid a torrent of brutal press in the preceding weeks, with headlines calling her toxic [level 2007 Britney] and hard to work with, Em told the predominantly female audience at the Adelaide Festival Theatre, she’s not difficult, she just knows what she wants, and watching on, I believed it.

Vocal powerhouse, laugh out loud funny, brutally honest, and with no qualms about sucking spilled rose off the dirty stage floor [respect; we’ve all been there], Em belted out a selection of her favourite tunes, including jazz classic ‘Feeling Good’, Madonna’s ‘Express Yourself’, Kesha’s ‘Mother’ and ‘Crazy in Love’ by the queen herself, Beyonce. Backed by John Farnham’s band, with musical direction by Chong Lim, you better believe that the show was as tight as the red spandex jumpsuit Em wore onstage [spoiler alert; pretty bloody tight].

Em has two rules; be kind and don’t take sh*t. Along with a third unspoken rule [my personal favourite]: people are c***s. Aaaand suddenly I’ve never felt more inherently understood by a complete stranger in my life! A-freakin-[wo]men sista!

A show for any woman who has ever been shushed, or told to dial herself back, or that she’s “too much”. Em Rusciano isn’t difficult, she’s a mother f*ckin’ woman.

Em Rusciano
Difficult Woman
Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Festival Theatre
June 9

Festival Program