Top 10 picks for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Bernadette Robinson 3

At this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Artistic Director Kate Ceberano has explored the theme of See What Hides Within and that’s exactly what the program does, going beyond the realm of performers on stage. It provides audiences with a unique look at the artist and the ever evolving art form.

From the satirical, nostalgic, contemporary, to the traditional, magical and vagabond, fresh-faced Cabaret artists and industry stalwarts all go to extreme lengths to share their inspiring journeys showcasing their incredible talent on very different platforms. Australian Arts Review takes a brief look at our Top 10 Picks for this year’s Festival.

Variety Gala Performance
Firmly secured as a feature on the Adelaide entertainment calendar, and a staple in the diet of every Cabaret Festival fan, the Variety Gala Performance is the appetizer to the grand buffet of performances that are on offer at this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Featuring highlights from international and local cabaret stars and backed by the Adelaide Art Orchestra, this stunning showcase is packed with star power and über talent.

Bernadette Robinson In Concert
Following the sold-out, critically acclaimed Australian tour of her one-woman play Songs for Nobodies, Bernadette Robinson returns to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival with a concert of songs by her favourite performers and song-writers. Accompanied on piano by regular collaborator Paul Noonan, Bernadette will perform songs made famous by Piaf, Garland, Patsy Cline, Billy Holiday and Maria Callas with a broader repertoire including outrageous send-ups of well-known stars of stage and screen and contemporary songs in her ‘own’ voice.

Cassandra Wilson
Two-time Grammy Award winning jazz singer and composer Cassandra Wilson is a vocalist blessed with a distinctive and flexible contralto voice. A crossover artist capable of covering everything from British pop to American country, she began playing piano at six and guitar when she was nine and was working as a vocalist by the mid ’70s, singing a wide variety of material. Over the course of her career she has continued to evolve her art form and transcends any one musical genre, deftly reinventing the jazz repertoire with a light touch, steadfast vision and intimate delivery.

Hans – Like A German
The wonder boy of Berlin is back! Hold on to your boyfriends and join international superstar, Hans, for an evening of hotpants, feathers and, of course, accordions. With his band, The Ungrateful Bastards and beautiful dancers, The Lucky Bitches, Hans shimmies his way through songs by everyone from Marlene to Madonna. With more eyeliner than Cleopatra and more drama than an episode of the Real Housewives, Hans will make you feel Like A German as well.

Idina Menzel
Tony Award-winning actress, singer and songwriter, and star of Broadway’s Wicked and the original stage production of Rent, Idina Menzel will demonstrate why she is one of the great performers of our time with a diverse repertoire of classic pop and musical theatre favourites. Garnering huge critical acclaim, Menzel has had a diverse career on the stage, in film, television and in music. She is a favourite in the smash hit television series Glee and has also appeared in the US television series Private Practice. Her film credits include Disney’s romantic fable Enchanted and will star in the upcoming Disney animated feature Frozen.

Meow Meow
Her unique brand of kamikaze cabaret kitsch and performance art exotica has inspired and hypnotised audiences worldwide. The spectacular crowd-surfing queen of song drags cabaret kicking and screaming into the 21st century with trail-blazing sell-out seasons from New York and Berlin to the Sydney Opera House and London’s West End. For this year’s Cabaret Festival Meow Meow delivers sequins and satire, wicked Weimar, Brel, Brecht, Casal, Kitt, and even Radiohead re-imagined.

Shane Warne The Musical
Premiering in 2008 and becoming an instant smash hit with critics and audiences alike, including the glowing imprimatur of Shane Warne himself, Eddie Perfect heads up an exceptional cast to re-imagine the piece as the epic, hero-worshipping, PR spinning, celebrity-slaying, satirical homage it was always destined to be. Featuring songs that range from the hilarious to the genuinely moving; this is Eddie Perfect writing and performing at his sharpest, most savage and wonderfully inventive best.

The Paul Capsis Revue
Multi-award winning star of the stage and screen including two coveted 2012 Helpmann Awards Paul Capsis, dressed in his gold Tom Barker suit, ponders the songs of David Bowie, Diamanda Galas, Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht and their influence on his own work in recent years (The Threepenny Opera, Assembly and Ziggy). Having enjoyed two sell-out seasons in the Famous Spiegeltent in Melbourne, be prepared to surrender and be seduced by this strong yet deceivingly fragile powerhouse. From Amy Winehouse, to Patti Smith to Prince to the Beatles and many more Paul is channeling, always channeling…..

Tommy Bradson – Reg
At last year’s Cabaret Festival, Tommy stormed the Artspace with his one-man show The Men My Mother Loved. This year he pays tribute to Australian stage legend Reg Livermore with a retrospective on his illustrious career. From The Betty Blokk Buster Follies to Firing Squad, Tommy will revisit all your favourite feared and revered characters with musical numbers from Reg’s acclaimed catalogue of solos shows.

Virginia Gay – Songs To Self-Destruct To
All the songs that you’ve ever loved and lost to are given a new glittering life as cheerful, upbeat sing-a-longs. Roll your pain in sequins and teach it to high-kick! Navigate the frightening, lonely hours between midnight and dawn with foul-mouthed femme fatale Virginia Gay as she takes you through her favourite self-harming toe-tappers, her best-loved wrist-slitting ditties, with all the pep of black coffee, cigarettes and a bottle full of uppers.

The 2013 Adelaide Cabaret Festival starts on Friday 7 June and runs for two weeks. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Bernadette Robinson

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