Stars set to shine at Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Stars set to shine at Adelaide Cabaret Festival

LAST UPDATED // Monday, 04 April 2016 12:46 Written by // Cec Busby

Boasting over 400 artists and 150 performances over 16 days and nights, Adelaide Cabaret Festival proves cabaret is alive and kicking in the city of churches.

For the 2016 season, Adelaide Cabaret Festival Artistic Directors Ali McGregor and Eddie Perfect have delivered an array of fantasmagorical works that are sure to inspire and delight audiences.

Co-Artistic Director Ali McGregor told GNN cabaret is at a turning point and described a bright and exciting future not just for the festival but for the genre. For the 2016 Adelaide Cabaret Festival McGregor said she and Perfect have made a point of celebrating the icons of Cabaret, and aspects that have shaped it; political satire, songbook interpretation, comedy, burlesque - while reveling in the new and unique ways artists are working in the genre.

“We also wanted to represent a snapshot of where cabaret is on the international stage, how different works are being created and to showcase just how strong and inspiring many Australian acts are on the international stage. But above all of this, we have programmed acts that we LOVE.”


Image: Megan Hilty will perform at the 2016 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Minister for the Arts the Hon. Jack Snelling MP says, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, now in its 16th year is Adelaide’s premier winter festival.

“It is the largest cabaret festival in the world and a much loved Australian event, attracting audiences and artists from around the country.”

Co-Artistic Director Eddie Perfect says cabaret's potential is only limited by the imagination of its performers and practitioners.

“What cabaret has going for it in spades is immediacy, Perfect said.

"It’s an art form that values communication with an audience above all else, and it can be refreshingly, shockingly and seductively direct.

“That’s why the Adelaide Cabaret Festival has become an indispensable institution and that’s the reason I couldn’t be prouder to curate, along with Ali, a program of the best of what is happening RIGHT NOW in cabaret around Australia and the world. We’re excited to invite our audience along to have a conversation with us about where cabaret is, where it’s going, and how it can so intimately and effectively tell us something about who we are.”

This year’s festival boasts an array of local and international acts. 42 international artists from as far afield as the United States, Ireland, United Kingdom and Germany as well as the best from Australia will grace Adelaide’s stages with over 383 Australian artists including 182 from South Australia ready to shine.


Image; Bobby Fox will get the audience swooning with his tribute to Franky Valli

The 2016 Festival showcases six world premieres, eight Australian premieres, 35 Adelaide premieres as well as 13 Adelaide exclusives. The vibrant program also features 11 international shows.

The Festival kicks off on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend with the ever popular Variety Gala, a glittering night of stories and song. The annual “Cabaret Icon Award” will also be presented to a cabaret luminary on this night.

In approaching this year’s artistic vision McGregor says cabaret is often made up of seemingly random pieces of other genres; Music, Theatre, Dance, Comedy and Cabaret but by putting these elements together the performers create something exciting and unique.

“We wanted to capture this, alongside the beauty of seeing behind the façade of theatre into where all the real magic happens. We created our season image from thrown-away set, lighting, storage and the detritus of the theatre. We shaped it by hand (and sweat and tears and 10 hours in an empty rehearsal room) and along the way found treasure from theatrical trash.”


Image: Lisa Fischer will step into the limelight at Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Festival highlights include performances by the world’s most famous burlesque star Dita Von Teese, broadway and TV star Megan Hilty and local favourite Helen Dallimore, who played opposite Idina Menzel and has been a constant favourite on our small screen, most recently as Olivia O’Neil in Here Come The Habibs. Festival Artistic Director Ali McGregor will also take to the stage to strut her stuff delivering smoky vocals and torch songs aplenty.

As previously announced Twenty Feet From Stardom singer Lisa Fischer will step out of the shadows as a back up singer and into the spotlight to deliver a solo show with Grand Baton and cabaret master Barb Jungr will return to the festival to perform the songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen in Hard Rain.

Aussie cabaret pioneer Robyn Archer will delight audiences in not only one but two shows. Dancing on the Volcano will see her truly authentic interpretation of Germanys’ cabaret from Brecht and Eisler, Frederich Holleander, Wilhelm Grosz, Kurt Tucholsky and more. On the opening weekend Archer, along with a range of Festival artists, will pay special homage to the famous cross-genre composer Kurt Weill in the World Premiere of The Weill File.

Sydney’s Wharf Revue will make the journey south to celebrate ten year’s of satirical musings as they bring their sold out Edinburgh fringe performance to the Festival Centre.

Crooner Tom Burlinson will present his homage to Frank Sinatra, Sinatra at the Sands and Bobby Fox will have you swinging to his grooves and high altitude falsetto. Share Bobby’s journey 4 Seasons in 1 Night as he provides you with a behind the scenes insight into the world of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.


Image: Frank Woodley will delight in The Composer is Dead.

Cab Fest faves Frank Woodley and Tripod will return with spanking new shows and Sammy J & Randy in Rickett’s Lane – will see beloved comedian Sammy J offer up a new piece,

Bowie fans will love Sven Ratzke, tribute to Bowie in Starman and the infamous Yana Alana may or may bot be clothed in her latest rud lewd cabaret offering, Covered.

One of SX’s fave cabaret stars Maeve Marsden will take to the stage with Libby Wood to explore the history of gin through story and song,  Mother’s Ruin: A Cabaret about Gin. While Sheridan Harbridge’s Songs for the Fallen is a wild and hilarious tale of a woman who knew one thing: good girls don’t make history.

Cabaret always features Variety and this year’s Festival doesn’t disappoint. Miss Behave’s Gameshow is inventive, funny and shrewdly subversive entertainment, it contains warnings of course language, nudity and haze effects - anything may happen. The Birds is avant garde variety in full flight created and directed by Moira Finucane and Jackie Smith who return with a brand new gothic, erotic airborne variety show.

The Backstage Club is variety personified.  Expect the unexpected as cabaret’s elite team-up for unique collaborations and celebrations of all things cabaret. Hosted by Amy G and Miss Behave, Jan van de Stool and Libby O’Donovan.


Image: Kate Ceberano and Paul Grabowsky will delight with love songs aplenty

Former Adelaide Cabaret Festival Director Kate Ceberano will take to the stage to deliver Duets and Power Ballads- reinterpreting some of the great love songs from the past 50 years. Loud proudand bold as brass, Trevor Ashley and Rhonda Burchmore join forces foe a glitxy glamourous homage to musical icons in their new show, Twins.

A marriage of mirth and melody, Harry Shearer is a comedy writer-actor who voices some of our favourite characters in The Simpsons and is equally famed for his role in cult mockumentary This is Spinal Tap whilst Judith Owen is a soulful singer and confessional songwriter who has collaborated with Ruby Wax and toured with Roxy Music’s Brian Ferry, they make a formidable duet.

This year the Festival expands its offering on the big screen by introducing Movie Nights.

The films will be introduced by the stars themselves: Betty Blokk Buster Follies introduced  by the Cabaret Icon Award Winner Reg Livermore; Michelle Ryan introducing her inspirational story of dance and disability Michelle’s Story;  Ms Lisa Fischer will introduce the Oscar winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, and David Bowie’s cult hit Labyrinth will be introduced by Sven Ratzke.

And foodies don’t miss out with the return of the Cabaret Dinner hosted by Eddie Perfect. This is high culinary art paired with high-kicking entertainment. This year’s dinner features a menu designed by Adelaide’s renowned father and son chefs Peter and Chris Jarmer, a generational gustation matched with wines from Barossa Valley favourite Grant Burge.

There are also a slew of free events for the cash-strapped amongst us, ensuring everybody has an opportunity to see some wonderful cabaret.

Full program and tickets are on sale to subscribers now and the general public from Wednesday 6 April through BASS 131 246 or online


Cec Busby

Cec Busby

Cec Busby is the news editor of SX and online editor of

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