Queer Goings-On in the Garden
In 2012, more than 800,000 people (yes!) walked about in The Garden of Unearthly Delights. With the line-up planned for 2013, it promises to be another bumper year. Peter Burdon looks at some of the highlights.
Ruby Wax! Can you believe it? There was an immediate buzz in the room as the GOUD proudly announced it. Yes, indeed, one of the world’s great gay icons, and here for the whole Fringe! She’s merely one of the acts that the producers expect to be huge and which, we here at blaze suspect, will be high on the list of must-sees for our loyal readers!
And there are literally dozens of shows that would be the perfect GLBTI stocking-filler at Christmas. The incomparable Le Soirée is back, and for all those who loved Soap in 2012, get your tickets for Leo, in the world premiere of a new show. Remember Cantina, which has gone on to international stardom. From the same team comes Limbo. Book early for the award-winning Tom Thum, sold out to a madness in 2012. And how could anyone resist Barry Morgan’s Organ is Not a Dirty Word. The vinyl loving Monski Mouse and Cabaret Festival sensations Frisky and Mannish have new shows.
And speaking of Cabaret, we’re overjoyed that Tommy Bradson is in town with his new show, Sweet Sixteen or The Birthday Party Massacre. And he’s glad to be back. “I had the best times in Adelaide,” Tommy says, “I did my show When the Sex is Gone at the Fringe in 2010, then Pirate Rhapsody, Mermaid Requiem in 2011, and this year I had a sell-out in the Cabaret Festival with The Men My Mother Loved so it’s a pretty good place for me.” Tommy’s an unforgettable character with the heavy makeup and androgynous-cum-drag attire, but in truth it’s his style that sticks.
“To be honest, I got bored with the knickers and the swearing and I wanted to do a show that was more about saying g’day to everyone, and that was the Cabaret show,” Tommy says with a laugh, “And actually I was already writing this new Fringe show at the time, so they’re in the same mould. In this show, Birthday Party, I really wanted to look hard at Australian characters and Aussie music because that’s where I come from. So I’ll be playing the mother, the step-father, the boyfriend, and the birthday girl arriving! The audience will be the guests."
All of which sounds like fun. And that’s before we get on to some more marvellous acts. Once seen, no one can ever forget Le Gateau Chocolat, whose new show premieres in Adelaide. Much the same can be said of Aussie stalwarts like Judith Lucy, Denise Scott and the outrageous Sammy J and Randy. Or the fabulous Candy Butchers, perennial favourites at the Fringe, who are bringing a brand new show to Fringe 2013.
And speaking of fabulous, you’ve got to get to Candice McQueen: Nasty! Candice, aka Spanky, is happy to be called a tranny superstar, and has finally hit the Land of Oz after seven years at London’s famous Bistroteque. The shows at Midsumma and the Melbourne Cabaret Festival set the town on fire, and in 2013 she’s branching out!
“I wanted to tell a love story,” Spanky says dramatically, “it’s about a Mister Sister who parties her way around the world and falls in love with River Phoenix! To be honest I was a bit worried that it might not translate from the UK to Australia, then one of the big reviewers dropped the f-word on Twitter during the gig and it took off like a rocket!” Candice herself admits that she’s ‘Fluent in the language of fag,’ and can’t wait to meet a whole new crowd in Adelaide. “The show’s great fun, and it speaks volumes to a queer audience. I mean, we’re talking triumph over adversity. That’s what unifies us as a group of people. But somehow the straights manage to identify with it as well. How good is that?”
Keep an eye out in future issues of blaze for an interview with Craig Hill, who tore the house down with his pink kilt and campery at the Fringe in 2012, and is back next year with Jock’s Trap!
The entire program is on sale. Check it out at www.gardenofunearthlydelights.com.au