Adelaide Cabaret Festival Where Music and Theater Collide

From pitch perfect renditions of musical theatre classics to raunchy burlesque and post-modern political satire – Adelaide Cabaret Festival Where Music and Theater Collide celebrates, interrogates and amplifies the world of cabaret.

Opening night featured a slew of sold out shows including RocKwiz with Kate Ceberano, Every Musical Ever with a cast that tried to squeeze in every musical they could think of.

The Variety Gala

A FLUORUS of feathers, bodacious black beads and gypsy-inspired slinkiness ushered in this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival opening night at the sold out Variety Gala. Hosted by Virginia Gay, the gala is a degustation of this year’s performers and provides a sneak peak at shows to come.

Musically, the gala began with saxophonist Kate Ceberano and lyricist Tim Draxl performing an original song showcasing their chemistry. Next up were the sexy, sultry burlesque boys of Briefs who bared their bodacious boobies in a show of body art and dance. This was followed by the scrumptious voice of local songstress Carla Lippis, who looked stunning and sang a sassy version of Sonny and Cher’s Bang Bang backed by soulful electric guitar steeped in reverb.

Then, in a dazzling performance that had the audience at the edge of their seats, Ali McGregor came on stage dressed in peacock plumage and green sequins and sang Radiohead’s Creep in a style that could only be described as operatic. She sang wordless high notes, and topped off her act with an astounding finale of the wordless chorus from Carmina Burana. The evening finished with a pop mashup from this year’s Class of Cabaret students. It was a dazzling start to the festival that will see Broadway legends, talented up and comers and rising stars from secondary schools across South Australia take to the stage in a program that celebrates glamour and speaks truth to power.

The Cabaret Collective

The festival program bursts with vivacious variety, musical theatre and comedy. A diverse range of international and regional seasoned artists showcase their skills in this most intimate of art forms.

Celebrating a decade in Adelaide, this year’s festival is the brainchild of no less than nine past Cabaret Festival Artistic Directors – Julia Holt, David Campbell, Lisa Fischer, Kate Ceberano, Barry Humphries, Eddie Perfect, Ali McGregor and Julia Zemiro. Their selections pay tribute to the legacy of past festivals while looking forward to a future as one of the world’s leading cabaret showcases.

Adelaide’s own multi-instrumentalist Adam Page has earned a reputation as one of the city’s most creative and talented musicians. In this show he meets his match in loop pedal wizard Gene Peterson. Like a heavyweight freestyle boxing duel, they will go toe to toe with sounds from instruments and everyday objects – layering them intricately until one delivers the knockout blow.

Musical theatre lovers can celebrate the genius of Stephen Sondheim in Moments in the Woods – Songs & Stories of Sondheim, featuring a cast led by singer and director Catherine Alcorn with a dazzling array of stars joining her on stage for this one-night-only event. And for those who prefer a more intimate experience, 30 Something takes audiences back to Sydney’s bohemia Kings Cross on New Years Eve 1939. The show is a frank and irreverent story of what it’s really like to live your dreams.

The Spiegeltent

A cabaret tent is the perfect place to see and be seen – and there are plenty of opportunities at this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival. With the return of the Spiegeltent, the program takes on a new dimension with intimate and irreverent performances that celebrate glamour and speak truth to power.

The festival will welcome back the inspiring Class of Cabaret program, a spotlight on cabaret stars of the future. It is proudly supported by the Don Dunstan Foundation OUR MOB Emerging Artist Prize, which offers an opportunity for one South Australian student to participate in the program.

Some of the festival’s most popular artists are returning including Dame Edna Everage’s daughter Christie, who presents Britney Spears: The Cabaret, while Australian singer and actress Max Savage brings his slick, soulful pop to the tent with a seven-piece band. He’s joined by fellow Australian performer Steven Oliver who is bringing his smash-hit show Black Comedy to the Spiegeltent for the first time.

Also returning is the inimitable Storm Large with his Australian premiere of Taken By Storm, a collection of tortured and titillating love songs. And there is a chance to sing-along in a pub choir night, led by the acclaimed Carol Young, who hosts RocKwiz and salutes local music from Cold Chisel to Sia. It all adds up to a program that is sure to have audiences shimmying in the aisles, raising a glass and singing along.

The Finale

As winter descends, the world’s largest cabaret festival seduces audiences with a program of music, satire, comedy and storytelling that celebrates glamour and speaks truth to power. This year’s artistic director Julie Zemiro has curated a diverse lineup of singers, performers and theatre artists both local and international.

Highlights of the opening week included Ute Lemper’s Rendezvous with Marlene, State Theatre’s End of the Rainbow, and Australian composer Eddie Perfect (Shane Warne: The Musical) sharing his creative process in The Blank Page. This year’s Frank Ford Commissioning Award recipient, Adelaide singer Ursula Yovich, also opened with her new show, Taking You Home, a love letter to her Arnhem Land culture and tri-lingual household.

Musical theatre fans were delighted by Moments in the Woods – Songs and Stories of Sondheim, with a star studded cast featuring Phillip Quast, Geraldine Turner, Queenie van de Zandt and Josie Lane. Fellow stage veteran and festival favourite Daniel Koek returned with Bringing Him Home with his West End Story, and Australian comedians Anne “Willsy” Wills and Mark Trevorrow re-united for their acclaimed humourous collaboration The Swell Mob.