First look at the 2019 Adelaide Cabaret Festival

ACF Ute Lemper - phoot by Lucas AllenGet ready to break your routine with a first look at early release shows – and some alluring new spaces – coming to this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival in June 2019.

“I am delighted to announce our early release shows, it’s an exhilarating mix of things to come,” said Adelaide Cabaret Festival Artistic Director, Julia Zemiro. “Classic German cabaret, TV folk as you’ve not seen them before, a dash of politics, old Hollywood glory, a cabaret favourite re-invented, a dance mash-up plus an immersive show that will be on every night of the festival! Mes amis… this is just the beginning.”

In an Australian exclusive and premiere, global cabaret legend Ute Lemper will perform Rendezvous with Marlene for one night only at Thebarton Theatre. The German chanteuse and festival headliner creates magic on stage, re-living a three-hour telephone exchange she had with Marlene Dietrich in 1988.

In another Australian first, award-winning immersive show The Swell Mob from the UK will transport audiences into an historical epoch filled with thieves, fogle-hunters, dandies and deception. Hailed “a perfectly bizarre, uncomfortable, unmissable show” (Broadway Baby), Flabbergast Theatre will perform throughout the festival’s 16 days and nights.

Musical theatre performer and TV star Fiona Choi (The Family Law, The Let Down, Rent) brings to life the story of Hollywood’s first Chinese movie star and international style icon, Anna May Wong in Dragon Lady: The many lives and deaths of Anna May Wong – this intimate performance will provoke questions about cultural identity and ambition through sparkling musical numbers.

Australian cabaret icon Paul Capsis will light up rock music’s dark side in Paul Capsis with Jethro Woodward and the Fitzroy Youth Orchestra at The Famous Spiegeltent. The most gifted interpreter of song, Capsis belts out hits by artists including Patti Smith, Tom Waits, Lana Del Rey, The Doors and Led Zeppelin.

In a world premiere, Adelaide’s own award-winning choreographer Larissa McGowan will perform Cher – exploring the persona and characters of the ultimate pop chameleon through contemporary dance. And comedian Dan Ilic (Hungry Beast, ABC) and Triple J’s Lewis Hobba will savage the news in fast paced, satirical panel show A Rational Fear  – it’s like Q&A on crack.

Another hot ticket, Megan Mullally and her band Nancy And Beth is the punk/vaudeville heart-child of two friends – Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt who pick dope songs and sing them while dancing and wearing matching costumes. Starring Helen Dallimore and telling the story of Judy Garland’s fabled last days, Peter Quilter’s worldwide smash hit End of the Rainbow tears down the bright lights of Hollywood myth to reveal an enthralling tale of passion and manipulation.

“This year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival line-up may be our most diverse and exciting yet, with many Australian exclusives and premieres,” said Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director, Douglas Gautier. “Securing German cabaret star Ute Lemper’s only Australian performance is a great coup for Adelaide Cabaret Festival and it’s just the beginning of what’s to come this year. Julia Zemiro’s captivating vision brings new life to the festival in its nineteenth year.”

The 2019 Adelaide Cabaret Festival runs 7 – 22 June. The full program will be launched in April. Tickets are now on sale. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Ute Lemper – photo by Lucas Allen