What’s HOT at the 2015 Melbourne Cabaret Festival

I might take my shirt offThe spectacle of cabaret will be here for all to see and the spotlight will be on the things that matter – the seven deadly sins, unconditional love, acceptance and more, as the 6th annual Melbourne Cabaret Festival kicked off last night for the next ten days. Arts Review takes a look at six shows you should consider checking out!

Best of the Fest
The Butterfly Club: Saturday 20 June
Not sure what to see? Join Vicky Jacobs and a taste of the highlights of the festival in the kitsch cabaret capital of Melbourne. With a revolving line up of the festival’s cabaret royalty there is no better way to experience a taste of the Best of the Fest including Peter J Casey, Noni McCallum, Jess McKerlie, and Lynn Ruth Miller.

I Might Takes My Shirt Off
The Butterfly Club: 23 – 27 June 2015
From the mischievous mind of actor, Dash Kruck, this is the story of Lionel and the reluctant world-premiere of his debut cabaret show; a musical evening of sex, booze, boys and mythical beasts. Lionel is new at this. In fact, he’s working it out as he goes along. Under duress from his terrifying German therapist to ‘express himself’, he has inadvertently found himself in a cabaret. Lionel draws on his limited knowledge of the style and formidable Wikipedia skills to hilariously stumble his way through his hour on stage.

Lighthouse Berlin
Chapel Off Chapel: 19 – 21 June

Annie Lee’s (Kransky Sisters) moving tribute to the extraordinary life of cabaret legend and friend Agnes Bernelle (1923-1999). Featuring the songs of the inimitable 1920s/30s Weimar poets of Berlin, Lighthouse Berlin tells the story of Agnes, daughter of a Jewish/Hungarian librettist and Berlin Theatre owner, who as young girl befriended the poets who performed at her father’s cabaret club, The Naughty Boys. When the war came, Agnes and her father fled as refugees to England where Agnes became a World War Two Black Propaganda Spy and ended up a film actress and West End cabaret star.

Reviewing the Situation
Chapel Off Chapel: 24 – 25 June
Lionel Bart was once Britain’s most celebrated composer, responsible for the iconic musical Oliver! He partied with Noel Coward, Rudolf Nureyev and The Beatles. Now he’s bankrupt and ensconced in a flat above a laundromat. At his piano and fuelled by more than a few vodkas, Lionel sings us songs including Living Doll, From Russia With Love and You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two and shares stories from his incredible life. Featuring Phil Scott as Lionel Bart.

Strange Bedfellows – Under the Covers
Chapel Off Chapel: 19 – 21 June
After wowing them in Adelaide recently, climb into bed with Jacqui Dark and Kanen Breen as they take a midnight journey through the mean streets of Weimar Berlin, where raunch-laden remixes of your favourites collide with the insidious underworld of their own original material, exploding the boundaries of good taste with a hydrogen C-bomb.

These Things Take Wine
The Alex St. Kilda: 25 – 27 June
Many of us can probably recall – albeit hazily – some tales of misadventure while under the influence, but few of us would be prepared to share them with the masses. Natasha York tells her stories from pre-drinks to police encounters, chicken nuggets in bras, hijacking buskers, and everything in between to show us why we should celebrate – and not wine (sic) about our drunken experiences. Fighting off the Party Girl Gone Bad title can be difficult, so York seeks to find out why we each share such a special relationship with our beloved vino through the good, the bad and the ugly!

The 2015 Melbourne Cabaret Festival runs to Sunday 28 June. For more information, visit: www.melbournecabaret.com for details.

Image: Dash Kruck in I Might Takes My Shirt Off – photo by Louis Dillon Savage