Adelaide Cabaret Festival reveals a stellar 2019 program

Adelaide Cabaret Festival Ruthie Henshall - photo by Kurt SneddonEscape to be seen at this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival with a stellar lineup that celebrates diversity, challenges cabaret stereotypes and entertains in intimate new spaces. In her debut as Artistic Director, Julia Zemiro presents the 2019 program with more than 380 artists in 245 performances over 16 days and nights this June.

Showcasing classic and contemporary cabaret, the program features 17 Adelaide exclusives, 17 Adelaide premieres and 7 national premieres by Australian and International artists from as far afield as Germany, Sweden, USA, Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK.

Zemiro invites audiences to be seduced and challenged by political provocateurs, sublime storytellers and powerhouse performances: “From glitzy and shiny through to grit and heartbreak, let what cabaret can be take you away and escape to be seen,” she says.

“New venues, new faces and an opening night that will surprise! I am so thrilled to launch our program so I that I can finally declare the doors are open and welcome audiences in. If you love all things shiny, it’s there. If you love to laugh, or reminisce and hear a dark story, it’s there. If you love a big bold stand-alone main event, it’s absolutely there!” said Zemiro.

In an Australian exclusive and premiere, headliner and German chanteuse Ute Lemper will bring her show Rendezvous with Marlene to Thebarton Theatre for one night only, while Adelaide’s favourite son David Campbell Is Back in The Swing of Things with a world premiere featuring a 14-piece swing band and playing classics by Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima and Bobby Darin.

RocKwiz will also rock the Thebby with a live show – RocKwiz Salutes The Rock Musical and fresh from the Eurovision stage in Tel Aviv, Australian singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke will take you where there’s Zero Gravity in an Adelaide exclusive performance.

Breathing new life into the festival is this year’s opening night event – The House is Live – featuring festival favourites Meow Meow, Paul Capsis, Reuben Kaye and Queenie van de Zandt – alongside emerging cabaret stars including lead singer of Saskwatch, Nkechi Anele, award-winning rapper, poet and author Omar Musa and jazz chanteuse Alma Zygier.

A new late-night club – The 11 O’Clock Number – will light up The Famous Spiegeltent (another alluring new venue). Featuring a different cabaret star each weekend, including International superstar Hans, Julia Zemiro as Eurobeat character Bronya and vaudevillian duo Hot Gin Punch – the club kicks off 11.00pm with a DJ and dancing until 2.00am.

In an Australian and festival first, award-winning immersive show The Swell Mob from the UK will transport audiences into an historical epoch and perform throughout the entirety of the festival.

If you love music that moves you:  Revered Australian pop star and Eurovision royalty, Dami Im, makes her first foray into cabaret with the show My Life In Songs at Dunstan Playhouse, while Grammy award winning powerhouse vocalist, Ms Lisa Fischer (who has performed with The Rolling Stones, Sting, Tina Turner and Luther Vandross) takes centre stage with her band Grant Baton performing classic rock, R&B and an aria or two.

Lior with Paul Grabowski will reinvent some of Lior’s most cherished songs in an Adelaide first and sister duo Vika and Linda Bull will bring their heart-felt harmonies to the stage in a world premiere, Between Two Shores. Directed by Steven Gates (Tripod), Suburban Gothic, tells hideously hilarious tales from suburban Australia, in an Adelaide exclusive.

If you love all things shiny: West End and Broadway superstar Ruthie Henshall will bring her new solo show, Ruthie Henshall: Live & Intimate to The Famous Spiegeltent. And then there’s Megan Mullally and her band Nancy And Beth – the punk/vaudeville heart-child of two friends – Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt – pick dope songs and sing them while dancing and wearing matching costumes.

If you love a curve ball: Cabaret favourite Iota is back as you’ve never seen him before in hilarious show Slap and Tickle while the UK’s Dickie Beau (recent film credits Bohemian Rhapsody and Colette) performs a one-man variety show. In an Australian first, Sweden’s Queen of Swing, Gunhild Carling will belt through a cavalcade of jazz standards, sometimes playing three trumpets at once while tap dancing!

If you love to laugh: Presentation Night featuring former Western Bulldogs captain, Bob Murphy and singer-songwriter Tex Perkins is a show about life, love, classic albums and how to win the premiership flag. While contemporary cabaret artist Elaine Crombie (Black Comedy, 8MMM and Kiki & Kitty) makes her festival debut and Maeve Marsden and Libby Wood take a satirical look at musical theatre and its greatest (thinnest) leading ladies in Fat Musicals: A Body of Work.

If you love to reminisce: Australian musical theatre star and Irish born Bobby Fox will premiere The Irish Boy, in a charming and humorous show featuring all the classics, Danny Boy, The Foggy Dew, The Fields of Athenry and Ride On. A world premiere, Kaye Tuckerman tells a cautionary tale of the pursuit of the Broadway dream in Broadway Bound (But Not Gagged) in another new venue, The Blue Room at Adelaide Festival Centre.

In a special tribute to Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s founding father, Frank Ford – the first Frank Ford Commissioning Award will see Amelia Ryan and Libby O’Donovan perform Unsung – telling the stories of female singers of the 1960s. The award provides $20,000 a year towards the creation of new works by South Australian artists and will continue to help mentor and nurture emerging cabaret talent for years to come.

Free events include the LGBTI + Elders Dance Club by All the Queens Men, held on the Queen’s Birthday LGBTI elders and their allies are invited to an afternoon social in The Famous Spiegeltent. While the QBE Cabaret Lounge in the Festival Theatre foyer will become a chillout zone, home to the Pol Roger Bar and where audiences can enjoy free roving performances.

Cabaret favourite Trevor Jones returns to the Quartet Bar and a new talk series over three weekends explores the life of a cabaret artist, politics in cabaret and the process of story-telling, and celebrating its 10th Anniversary, the Class of Cabaret program returns to shine a light on the cabaret stars of tomorrow.

The 2019 Adelaide Cabaret Festival opens on Friday 7 June and runs to Saturday 22 June. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: Ruthie Henshall – photo by Kurt Sneddon