Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2017
Artistic directors Ali McGregor and Eddie Perfect (pictured left), together with Adelaide Festival Centre, have announced a program of 430 artists in 147 performances over the 16 days and nights of the 2017 Adelaide Cabaret Festival. There are 58 international artists from as far afield as the United States, Ireland, United Kingdom, Japan and New Zealand, together with 372 Australian artists including 234 from South Australia. The 2017 festival showcases 17 world premieres, 5 Australian premieres, 25 Adelaide premieres as well as 17 Adelaide exclusives, 20 shows with international artists and 5 totally original shows commissioned or co-commissioned by Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
Ali McGregor says:“Our final night gala this year has the theme Love and Revolution which is a sentiment that runs throughout this year’s program. I don’t think any other genre has the ability to emotionally connect like cabaret. This year we have people creating quiet revolutions in dance and theatre, loud revolutions with burlesque and tomfoolery and dissonant revolutions with unique musical collaborations. The common theme throughout is one of LOVE: love through the discovery of another’s story, a shared enjoyment of song, the ability to laugh at ourselves and question our motives and desires.
“The intimacy of cabaret means that there is an inherent level of trust between performer and audience. But there is also a level of trust that YOU, our loyal patrons put in Eddie and I. We are introducing you to some new acts and ideas. The tables that turn will not only bring fresh talent but also celebrate performers that you already know and love.”
Eddie Perfect says:“Nobody can deny that the social and political landscape has become wild and bumpy in 2017. Wherever you sit on the ideological spectrum, we all find ourselves living in George Orwell's 1984 where war is peace, ignorance is strength and lies are truth.
“It is my biased opinion that cabaret has a rich and strong tradition as one of the first art forms to react to the world around us. The 2017 program represents unique and varied artists doing just that: speaking to power, questioning tradition, upholding tolerance, love and respect, and uniting us together as an audience, a city or just one single room, to laugh at naked emperors and to feel embraced, accepted and alive. In 2017 we invite our brave and open-minded audience to join us to turn the tables from fear to love, division to unity, anger to joy, and all with wit, skill, wonder and passion.”
Opening the festival, hosts Ali McGregor and Eddie Perfect will head up the Variety Performance Gala over two nights, including presentation of the annual Cabaret Icon Award. 2016’s hugely successful Family Gala returns giving pint-sized theatregoers their first taste of walking the red carpet (pictured right - photographer Claudio Raschella).
Family circle celebrations continue with the 16th instalment of Hush 16: A Piece of Quiet original Australian music created for children in hospitals blending lyrical input from Australian children, vocals from The Idea of North and musical compositions by Elena Kats-Chernin, Lior and Adelaide’s Zephyr Quartet. Lior also lends his voice and songwriting prowess to Love, Loss and Compassion in which the he presents with Australian String Quartet beloved songs, selected previews from his upcoming album and a re-imagined version of Sim Shalom (Grant Peace) from the orchestral song cycle, Compassion, written with Nigel Westlake.
Singer-songwriter Paul Kelly and Irish-French chanteuse Camille O’Sullivanbreathe new life into the works of W. B. Yeats and the poets of Erin and add newly composed songs to create Ancient Rain. In Peter Coleman-Wright & Nexas Quartet, baritone Peter Coleman-Wright and saxophonists Nexas Quartet embark on a musical journey from Berlin and Vienna to New York and beyond with a mixture of Weimar political songs and those of Weill, Stolz and Schreker.
In an Australian premiere, founding Fascinating Aïda member Dillie Keane takes a solo leap with Hello Dillie, a brand-new show of well-loved favourites, original songs and plenty of cheerful smut. There’s also the Australian premiere of Songs For Lovers (and Other Idiots) featuring Sarah-Louise Young and Michael Roulston.
A sense of the impending probable apocalypse only adds to the anxiety of her partner’s marriage proposal in Gillian Cosgriff’s To the Moon and Back (pictured left), and iconoclastic New York siren Lady Rizo balances new motherhood while staying atop her glittery stilettos in Multiplied.
Meow Meow joins forces with the Orchestrer der Kleinen Reginment in the ultimate duel of grand old dames in Souvenir, an attempt to summon the ghosts of Her Majesty’s Theatre past, present and future.
Linda Catalano’s One Suitcase, Four Stories, tells tales of migration, family and her nonna’s best recipes which you’ll prepare and eat together.
Christie Whelan Browne sharesthe explosive dramas of a fictitious family in Vigil, when prodigal daughter Liz bursts through the door on Christmas Day demanding answers and truths that can’t be soothed with Christmas carols.
Elise McCann, 2016’s Helpmann Award-winning Miss Honey in Matilda the Musical, continues her fascination with Roald Dahl’s characters in Dahlesque, featuring songs inspired by the movies of his books as well as original compositions of Revolting Rhymes. Penny Ashton pays sincere apology to Jane Austen, combating literary snobbery with her new musical Promise and Promiscuity.
Intimate undertones of loss, longing, joy and hope bubble to the surface of Robyn Archer’s The Sound of Falling Stars, starring Cameron Goodall who inhabits the souls of Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Kurt Cobain, Jeff Buckley and many more.
Anarchic punk gypsies The Tiger Lillies serve up a cocktail of music-hall antics, mad accordion and bar room brawls with The Very Worst of The Tiger Lillies. In Black, Le Gateau Chocolat reveals his velvety voice and heart-warming confessions assisted by songs from Wagner, Purcell, Nina Simone and Whitney Houston.
Bourgeoisand Maurice will give you an expert crash course in How to Save the World Without Really Trying and all you really need are shellac nails, false eyelashes that sweep the floor and the energy of a Kanye gig. You’re then fully prepped for the wedding of the century, when Australia’s favourite Greek goddess finally gains a husband and loses a cherry in Effie The Virgin Bride, with her immaculately conceived daughter Aphrodite and Uncle Vasili along for the ride.
For those celebrating love the second time round, Simon Hall (Yon) of Tripod fame has you covered with Second Wedding Singer, backed by The Brass Rings and featuring ‘My Parents' Breakup (Was Better Than Your Parents' Breakup)’ and ‘Guilt Is My Engine’.
Far greater value than any intoxicated best man’s speech are sketch and improvisational talents of the Pajama Men, with Pterodactyl Nights, and velvet-draped nightingale Tina Del Twist (the comic invention of Wes Snelling) adds her wit to many of the classics in Gold Glass, backed by her guitar-toting maestro Stephen Weir.
Making her Adelaide debut, Bridget Everett will teach you to Pound It! in her outrageous, gut wrenching manner, letting her explosive vocal talent take over once the flesh is truly sexed-out (and it may take all night).
Cabaret turns on its heel with the raw power of non-verbal language in Out of Earshot, presented by physical movement company KAGE. The distinctive style of profoundly Deaf dancer Anna Seymour is complemented by Gerard Van Dyck, Elle Evangelista and Timothy Ohl, and backed by contemporary jazz musician, Myele Manzanza under the choreography and direction of Kate Denborough.
Colin Lane, David Collins and (Collin-less) Amy G go head to head with Gilbert and Sullivan to re-tell their most popular light opera. To silence their diva-ish squabbles they are all playing the lead role in Three Mikados.
Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs draws on his infamous Club Cumming dressing room evenings and shares some of his most hilarious, distressing and heart-wrenching stories.
The otherworldly bodies, theatrical circus atmosphere and burlesque bravado of Brisbane’s own Briefs boys will be on show in Close Encounters. The drag antics continue as Courtney Act reminds you there’s no place like home with The Girl From Oz, featuring Australian hits from AC/DC to Xanadu.
2017 Adelaide Fringe Best Cabaret winner Reuben Kaye demands you accompany him on a Journey to the Centre of Attention. Kim David Smith, who premieres his brand-new show Morphium Kabarett, conjures Peter Allen, David Bowie, Kylie and Marlene Dietrich in the ultimate dinner party dream performance of 1920s Berlin.
Australian opera’s enfants terribles Strange Bedfellows present Bedlam, lithium laced musical shock therapy, with multiple Helpmann Award winners Jacqueline Dark and Kanen Breen donning their fishnets and strait jackets to take asylum on the Artspace centre stage.
If a constantly changing program of multiple acts is more your style, take turns late-night at the Backstage Club. The Backstage Club is hosted weekly by Reuben Kaye, Ali McGregor and Murray Hill.
Class of Cabaret 2017 is in session, and 23 rising stars from across metropolitan and regional South Australian schools are mentored by cabaret artists Michael Griffiths and Amelia Ryan and coached by Charmaine Jones. Demonstrating that their vocal talents have far outgrown the school assembly hall, the Class of Cabaret Graduates’s Retrospective introduces previous students – Alex De Porteous, Claire Morphett, Eva Rundle and Jerome Javier – artists of the future, mentored by Libby O’Donovan.
Or you can turn back time with the songbooks of modern music’s best songwriters. The best of Berlin, Rogers & Hart, Sondheim and Peter Allen are sprinkled liberally amongst stories of 50 years on and off the stage in Carlotta: Queen of the Cross, starring Australia’s living legend, political activist and inspiration for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Lucky: Songs by Kylie pays homage to Australia’s pop princess, brought to life by Michael Griffiths and his four piece band.
Interpreter extraordinaire of the Great American Songbook, Michael Feinstein joins forces with a 17-piece big band for Sinatra and Friends. Performing a blend of swing songs and vintage ballads, plus seldom-sampled arrangements, Feinstein will pay tribute to Liza Minnelli, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney, Sammy Davis Jr. and more.
Several Australian sassiest women pay tribute to iconic songs and performers, with Cath Alcorn to present Cathartic, applying her touch and versatility to melodies from Blondie to Beyonce; and Amanda Harrison (Wicked), Chelsea Renton-Gibb (Cabaret, Chicago) and Melissa Langton(The Fabulous Singlettes) unite as Cyrens: the Swinging Songbook of Cy Coleman, a tribute to Broadway jazz pianist and composer of iconic shows including Sweet Charity and Barnum.
Carole King’s Tapestry is a classic, and almost 50 years after its release and Vika Bull and Debra Byrne, backed by the Brill Band, will ensure that you feel the earth move, know that you’ve got a friend, and feel like a natural woman more than ever. The work of Jacques Brel is brought to life by Ali McGregor and cabaret friends in Brel, capturing the Belgian singer-songwriter’s pathos, wit and intensity.
Winners of multiple Grammys, USA jazz extraordinaires guitarist Bill Frisell, pays tribute to classic American cinema tracks with and, making her Adelaide debut, Dianne Reeves brings her powerhouse vocals and incredible improvisational R&B stylings to the stage.
Direct from the Gold Coast and channeling David Copperfield and Claudia Schiffer circa 1989 are Peter & Bambi Heaven with The Magic Inside, a magical act with the emphasis on tack and all the sequins you could choke on. If you do choke, Ryan Gonzales will happily bang you (on the back), stab you (in the heart) and serenade you Latino-style with Hispanic Attack, fiery hits from Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan and Enrique Iglesias.
Paying tribute to fictitious women including Lucy in the sky with diamonds, Eleanor Rigby and Penny Lane is the very much alive Lady Beatle, as Naomi Price (pictured left - photo by Dylan Evans) brings new flavours to The Beatles’ catalogue.
The Idea of North and Japanese beat boxer Kaichiro Kitamurado away with music (and limits) altogether to immortalise the beauty of harmonious pitch perfect voices in Groove Sessions.
In free events, the Songwriter Series returns. Artistic Director Eddie Perfect will interview a lineup of musical theatre and cabaret’s most masterful minds. With the return of Art Stories (hosted by Chris Drummond), Steve Vizard, Carlotta, Sarah Louise-Young and Fez Faanana will swap stories and discuss the moments that led to their success giving step by step insight into what drives and inspires human creativity.
The free entertainment continues with late nights in Piano Bar at the Bistro, Late Night DJs every Friday and Saturday night from 11:30pm (as well as Sunday night of the opening weekend), workshops and the fabulous local band The AirBenders in Bands in the Wintergarden.
The return of the Cabaret Dinner, for one night only, is a fine food affair hosted by Libby O’Donovan with the spotlight this year on South Australian chef Simon Burr of award winning restaurant The Olfactory Inn. Simon will satisfy your olfaction and gustation with a thoughtful three-course meal honouring the produce of the Adelaide Hills matched carefully to Grant Burge wines and Adelaide Cabaret Festival artists.
In the Closing Variety Gala – Songs of Love and Revolution, Ali McGregor, Eddie Perfect and the hottest acts from the closing weekend take to the stage to sign off on another incredible Adelaide Festival Centre.
With the Festival Theatre playing host to Matilda the Musical, most of Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s venues including the fabulous Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent can be found on the Dunstan Playhouse Riverdeck at the southern side of the Riverbank Footbridge. Her Majesty’s Theatre which will host a number of events is a short walk away on Grote Street.
Aged between 18 and 30s? Join Adelaide Festival Centre’s Greenroom program for cheap tickets, free workshops and special events. adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au/greenroom
Full program and tickets are on sale to subscribers through BASS 131 246 or online adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au. Program details are available online and in the Adelaide Cabaret Festival brochure. Get one free by calling BASS 131 246 or visit Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s website.