Over three weeks from mid-January, catch some of the world’s most notorious and outrageous performers – a rogue troupe of notorious misfits and glorious wits who will be setting up camp throughout the venue. Prepare for salacious showstoppers and filthy laughs, showcasing performers who will defy the expectations of even the most jaded.
Catch the cream of London’s cabaret club scene: Nigerian-born baritone Le Gateau Chocolat and alt-drag megastar Jonny Woo team up for a two-handed love letter to musical theatre, while cult diva Ursula Martinez bares her soul and more in a new show as acclaimed as it is fearless. Be bowled over as Ireland’s accidental national treasure, drag queen Panti Bliss teaches Australia a thing or two about marriage equality.
Thomas Jaspers will also be running his now infamous Rhonda Butchmore tours throughout the duration of the festival, and Dolly Diamond will take up residency in the official festival hub, The (Piano) Barre – with guest appearances every Monday evening.
A Night at the Musicals starring Le Gateau Chocolat and Jonny Woo
Fairfax Studio: 17 – 22 January 2017
Spend a raucous Midsumma night out with Jonny Woo and Le Gateau Chocolat as they drag you through the back catalogue of musical theatre with ballsy ballads, delightful duets and slaughtered show tunes. A tortured love letter to the glorious genre of musical theatre, from Les Mis to The Lion King, Cabaret to Annie… no musical is safe!
Finucane & Smith’s Glory Box: Lucky 13
Fairfax Studio: 24 – 29 January 2017
A melting pot of cabaret, dance and transcendent glamour – an explosive variety show sure to entertain. Dice-rolling divas, ace-in-the-hole aerialists, poker-faced prima donnas and backroom ballerinas take to the Fairfax stage in this rock’n’roll Russian roulette. Take a gamble on the glamazons that have been wowing ‘em worldwide for thirteen years, Melbourne’s own unquenchable Queen of Hearts, Moira Finucane – returns after dazzling the world.
Ash Flanders: Playing to Win
Fairfax Studio: 27 – 29 January 2017
Following a highly successful 2015 Melbourne Cabaret Festival season, Ash Flanders’ Playing to Winreturns with an updated exorcism of shame from the Green Room Award winning team that brought you Special Victim (Ash Flanders, director Stephen Nicolazzo and musical director David Barclay). With his band at the ready, whimsical nuisance Flanders (Lilith: The Jungle Girl, Meme Girls, co-founder of Sisters Grimm) dares you to step into the ring with him, as he blends together a darkly funny mix of song and story, pop culture and personal tragedy.
Ursula Martinez: Free Admission
Fairfax Studio: 31 January – 5 February 2017
First-rate provocateur Ursula Martinez is back on her dirty soapbox for Midsumma, baring her soul (and possibly more) in Free Admission, which sees her building a real brick wall between herself and the audience, armed with side-splitting zingers and brain-bending truths. An original cast member of circus-cabaret phenomena La Soirée, Ursula is an Olivier Award winning performer most famous for subverting the striptease in her outrageous magic striptease act, Hanky Panky.
Panti: High Heels in Low Places
Fairfax Studio, 2 – 4 February 2017
Panti Bliss, the gender-discombobulating Queen of Ireland, will hilariously and poignantly, trace her journey from small-town boy to the national treasure she is today in High Heels in Low Places. Here she exposes the stories behind the makeup – from performance giant to the accidental activist she became after her speech about homophobia went viral around the world, caused a parliamentary meltdown, was remixed by Pet Shop Boys and fed into Ireland’s marriage equality referendum success.
Tickets are now on sale. For more information, visit: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au for details.
Image: Moira Finucane to tantalise audiences during Midsumma in Glory Box: Lucky 13 (supplied)