Not Your Usual Suspects at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Adelaide Cabaret FestivalAdelaide Cabaret Festival Artistic Director Kate Ceberano has unveiled a stellar line up of not your usual suspects for her final year as Festival Director featuring over 470 Artists in 173 performances over 16 days and nights.

The 2014 program will feature 71 international artists from across the world as well as the best from Australia with 407 Australian artists and 244 South Australian performers. The 2014 Festival showcases 21 world premieres, 13 Australian premieres, 19 Adelaide premieres as well as Adelaide Exclusives. The vibrant program also features 20 international shows. Festival Designer David Bromley has returned to add a touch of dark whimsy to the look and feel of the Festival.

Opening on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, this year’s Festival continues the colonial theme of Kate’s previous Festivals and is bigger than ever before. Last year’s Festival broke all previous box office records and was up 21% on the previous year and this year’s program is destined for similar success.

With a record number of 10 performances in the Festival Theatre, the program boasts not one headliner but many, kicking off with The Variety Gala – Cabaret’s night of nights! Join Kate in her final year as Artistic Director at the opening night celebrations. The Gala will present a stunning collection of international and local artists from the Festival, backed by the impeccable Adelaide Art Orchestra.

The opening weekend continues with Swing on This – starring Michael Falzon, Luke Kennedy, Matt Lee and Ben Mingay – who’ll deliver a modern, daring take on the all-time swing classics with ‘swung’ verions of the biggest pop and rock songs of today backed by an 18-piece big band.

Famous for his tough guy roles in License to Kill, Die Hard and Predator 2, formidable talent Robert Davi will croon a love letter to his icon, the legendary Frank Sinatra as he journeys through the great American songbook in Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road to Romance.

The ARIA Award-winning Tripod and Helpmann Award winning and Logie nominated Eddie Perfect team up in Perfect Tripod: Australian Songs. The harmonising supergroup has reunited to craft a collection of gorgeous vocal arrangements of iconic Australian hits across the ages.

For the first time in almost a decade, Australian musical theatre star, Anthony Warlow returns to the Festival Theatre stage with Tony Award winner Faith Prince, his Broadway co-star from the critically acclaimed US production of Annie. Anthony Warlow and Faith Prince: Direct from Broadway will be accompanied by a magnificent 30 piece orchestra, featuring music from some of musical theatre’s greatest productions.

Tasmanian convict history has been turned into an extraordinary musical journey. Vandemonian Lags features an all-star lineup of Australian rock and folk performers including Mick Thomas, Tim Rogers, Jeff Lang, Ben Salter, Darren Hanlon, Van Walker and Liz Stringer.

Guaranteed to hit the high notes is Kathy Najimy, one of Hollywood’s most admired comic actresses on Broadway, TV and film. Lift Up Your Skirt is Najimy’s hilarious and moving semi-autobiographical solo stage show.

Dan Finnerty and The Dan Band have performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tonight Show and Last Call with Carson Daly. They will have you in stiches as they cover everything from Rihanna to Salt-n-Pepa. Notorious for their appearance as the wedding band in cult movie The Hangover, The Dan Band are guaranteed to be the most offensive wedding band you’ve ever seen.

The King’s Singers, world renowned for their swoon-worthy arrangements and incredible a cappella styling, will bring their classic take on the Great American Songbook to the Cabaret Festival in an Australian Premiere performance.

Hailed by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the greatest voices of all time, Darlene Love will blow audiences away with her sensational voice and renditions of classic pop songs, including ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’ and ‘He’s A Rebel’. This fantastic lady has some amazing stories to tell and should not be missed.

A one-off musical extravaganza to close the Festival, The New Score will explode off the Festival Theatre stage in a glorious mash-up of modern music. With some of the world’s greatest songs reworked by critically acclaimed The Raah Project and featuring Kylie Auldist, iOTA and Artistic Director Kate Ceberano, this extraordinary project will be something special.

This year’s Festival explores the theme of Not Your Usual Suspects and that’s exactly what the program is – a lineup of those you might not expect to fall under the cabaret genre, who go beyond the realm of being just performers on stage. The program provides audiences with a unique look at the artist and the ever-evolving cabaret art form.

From the satirical, nostalgic, and contemporary, to the traditional, magical and vagabond, these fresh-faced Cabaret artists and industry stalwarts will all go to extreme lengths to share their inspiring journeys and showcase their incredible talent on very different platforms, ultimately reminding us that they’re not your usual suspects.

“I’m so excited to be bringing you another collection of eclectic and inspiring shows for the 2014 Adelaide Cabaret Festival,” says Festival Artistic Director Kate Ceberano.

“If there was a collective noun for this group of cabaret performers it would surely be an ‘inspiration’ of cabaret artists! Over the last two Cabaret Festivals we have delighted in the widest possible definition of the genre and 2014 will be no exception. I’m so proud of this year’s program and can’t wait to share it with you in June.”

The World Premiere of Little Bird will envelop Her Majesty’s Theatre for the duration of the Festival. Written specially by Nikki Bloom for incomparable cabaret performer Paul Capsis, this one man musical drama combines exquisite songs with a touch of fairytale to create a poignant and transformative musical journey.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival has always featured a strong lineup of leading ladies and 2014 is no exception. From Ali McGregor to Yana Alana, there is a veritable A-Z of female performers who will charm, shock, beguile, fascinate, and entertain audiences, including Caroline Nin, Robyn Loau, Elise McCann, Rhonda Burchmore, Catherine Alcorn, Lizzie Moore, Rachael Beck, Shay Stafford, Beccy Cole, Melanie, Cecelia Low, Ruth Rogers-Wright, Melody Beck, and sisters Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway.

Complementing the leading ladies are the men of Cabaret, whose voices range from soft and crooning to strong and raspy. Catch the wit, swagger and dynamic stage presence of some of the world’s most talented artists including Nelson Aspen, Colin Hay, Mark Nadler, Archie Roach, Tim Campbell, Rod Davies, Sven Ratzke, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Dalley, Yon, Ben Rimalower, Tim Freedman, three generations of Kermond men, Scott Evan Davis, Blake Bowden and Phil Scott, and Kim Smith.

Local artists are at the forefront of this year’s program, covering a multitude of genres including pop, country, indie, rock, vaudeville, psychedelic, jazz and soul. Carla Lippis, Kate Fuller, The Boswell Project, Johanna Allen, Alison Coppe, Kim Spargo, Roger Shepard and Peter Goers, The Baker Suite, Libby O’Donovan, and Amity Dry will display their creative talents, enviable vocals, and stories both personal and historical in a range of clever, funny shows that won’t disappoint.

Innovative, dynamic collaborations are a mainstay of the Cabaret Festival. This year’s offerings bring together some of Australia’s leading female performers – Mojo Juju, Simone Page Jones, Kira Puru and Stella Angelico – to infuse the songs of Elvis Presley with their own style in Hail To The King. While Picture Perfect – a song cycle that delves into the moments that may look flawless on the outside, but hide a different truth, will feature David Harris and some talented locals including Johanna Allen and Amity Dry.

Former Cabaret Festival Artistic Director David Campbell returns with good friend and musical mentor John Bucchino in a performance that will be full of stories, memories, and hilarities; while pianist Ambre Hammond and accordion player Marcello Maio team up to present the romantic and haunting compositions of Astor Piazzolla in Into Oblivion.

As well as putting his unmistakable stamp on the Festival’s design, acclaimed artist David Bromley will display his work in the Bromley Gallery (located in Lyrics Room) in an exhibition especially curated for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Bromley’s distinctive artworks, from paintings to ceramics, will be exhibited along with works from Datsun Tran and Stewart McFarlane. All works will be for sale.

The Backstage Club is back in 2014 to rock the Banquet Room into the wee hours. With three impeccable hosts – Ali McGregor, Libby O’Donovan, and Mark Nadler – the Club is the perfect place to finish off your night at the Festival with a touch of the riotous, the daring and the sublime.

The Adelaide Cabaret Festival runs 6 – 21 June 2014. Tickets to all shows go on sale this Friday 11 April. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: courtesy of the Adelaide Festival Centre