Drew Downing’s Ultimate 90’s Playlist

Melbourne Cabaret Festival. Chapel off Chapel. June 20 – 22, 2019

Drew Downing’s Ultimate 90’s Playlist is a nineties rock-concert-cabaret show performed by the charismatic crowd pleaser Drew Downing, backed by a fine ensemble of musicians and singers.  The show begins with a medley mix beginning with “Barbie Girl” (Aqua) and breaks into “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (Deep Blue Something).


Music: Richard Rodgers. Book & Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II. Savoyards. Director: Robbie Parkin. Musical Director: Jacqueline Atherton. Choreography: Natalie Lennox. Iona Performing Arts Centre, Wynnum, Qld. 22 June – 6 July 2019

Ever since it was written, Oklahoma! has been a popular and much produced title on the community theatre circuit. Savoyards have done it four times, the last in 2005, and since the show is now back on Broadway (admittedly in a more radical version), it’s time to re-look at the original again, which director Robbie Parkin has done with this production.

How does it stack up today?

David Campbell Back in the Swing of Things

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Thebarton Theatre. June 20 2019

Thebarton Theatre is not usually a place one associates with Cabaret. The art form requires connection between the performer and the audience and the creation of a rapport, while threading stories are told. Thebarton Theatre is set up in rows, very tightly seating its patrons. A show like David Campbell- Back in the Swing of Things could very easily have become a concert. This was not the case on opening night as this talented showman wove his magic. He had the place jumping and the audience eating out of his hand.

Driving Miss Daisy

By Alfred Uhry. Directed by Jon Lambert. Koorliny Arts Centre, Kwinana WA. June 14-22, 2019

In Atlanta in 1948, Daisy Werthan, a 72 year old Jewish widow has a car accident. Her concerned son, Boolie, hires Hoke Colburn, an African American man to be her chauffeur. Initially an awkward and hostile relationship, over many years, the two develop a deep, life changing friendship.

Ruthie Henshall: Live & Intimate

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. An Enda Markey Production. The Famous Spiegeltent. 21/22 June, 2019.

If what you seek from a cabaret performer is personality coupled with versatility, then Ruthie Henshall fits the bill. She can be comical or serious, rousing or understated. Her repertoire includes familiar favourites from the world of musical theatre, as well as hidden gems. The personal anecdotes range from cheeky and light-hearted to piercing and poignant.

In her distinctively throaty vocal delivery, Henshall prefers to dig deep into the substance of a song, rather than floating free into the realm of gratuitous acrobatics.

Megan Hilty In Concert

Camerata – Qld Chamber Orchestra. Conductor: Michael Tyack. Concert Hall, QPAC. 20 June 2019

Musical Theatre fans were in seventh heaven last night when QPAC presented Megan Hilty in Concert with a 40-piece band conducted by music-theatre maestro Michael Tyack. On her first visit to Brisbane three-years ago the sassy blonde Broadway star was great performing with a four-piece group, but hearing her with a swinging big-band was so much better.

iOTA – Slap and Tickle

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Dunstan Playhouse, Festival Centre, Adelaide, June 21 – 22, 2019

Even though Slap the clown declares in his first musical number “I may be gay, but I’m not THAT cabaret”, in iOTA – Slap and Tickle, that’s exactly what he is.

What follows are 60 minutes of humour with just a touch of heartbreak. Set in a world of glitter curtains, a makeup table and a wonderful ten-piece band, Slap the Clown and Tickle the Gimp reveal their somewhat abusive relationship and a collection of outrageous characters created by Slap.

Pride & Prejudice.

Adapted by Kirsty Budding. Based on the Jane Austen novel. Budding Theatre, directed by Kirsty Budding. Belconnen Community Theatre, 18–22 June 2019.

Fans of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice are likely to find Kirsty Budding’s stage adaptation gratifyingly faithful to the novel.  With one or two slips into more modern parlance, it’s a mature adaptation that highlights the novel’s subtle humour without seeking to outshine Austen’s own words.


Melbourne Cabaret Festival Opening Gala

Chapel Off Chapel. June 19, 2019

The Melbourne Cabaret Festival is celebrating its tenth year at Chapel Off Chapel.

This year’s Gala host, feisty Festival Ambassador Sally Bourne (accompanied by her partner in crime Drew Downing on piano) commenced proceedings by belting out a joyful rendition of “Big Time” (Peter Gabriel), preceding her boisterous introduction to a selection of many of the wild and wonderful acts participating in this year’s festival.

Spontaneous Broadway

Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The Blue Room. Adelaide Festival Centre. 19-22 June, 2019

Fans of the brilliant, sadly now defunct comedy improv show Thank God You’re Here will love Spontaneous Broadway.  This is the Australian version of the very successful New York Theatresports company production, and is nothing like scripted, performed theatre.

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