Entertainment Hive 2020

Variety Gala Performance

Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Friday, June 10

Review by Honey B

Just like a married couple, Adelaide Cabaret co-artistic directors Ali McGregor and Eddie Perfect took to the Variety Gala stage in whirl of witty one-liners. Through a cleverly penned song, What You Get, the two very different performers poked fun at each to kick off a stripped back night celebrating a night of vaudeville and cabaret along with old and new performers in an eclectic mix. The stark stage with a few old props spelling out the world cabaret certainly signalled the start of something new in the festival’s “What Comes Next’’ theme. With no black velvet curtain to hide the backstage goings on audiences were treated to the inner-workings of a theatre setting – some may say this was distracting but sometimes you need to pull back the velvet curtain. What lay behind the curtain was a treasure trove of highly talented Australian acts and a couple international sensations, but as Eddie Perfect has highlighted so succinctly Australia needs to be proud of its home-grown performers and the night went a long way to prove exactly that. Standing forefront at the new guard of Aussie talent was Andrew Strano with one of the standout performances of the night from his tongue-in-cheek show, Nailed It. Adelaide’s own Hew Parham, as the clown Rudi acted as the bumbling stage manager throughout the night and he garnered many laughs, while Maeve Marsden and Libby Wood of Mother’s Ruin gave a rousing rendition of a drinking song dedicated to gin. The audience was also treated to the depth of Australian talent from favourites Frank Woodley to the smooth singer Bobby Fox and comedy kings Tripod, who will team with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra for the show This Gaming Life. However it was Rhonda Burchmore and Trevor Ashley who stole the show with their comedic rendition of one of Adelaide’s own, Sia Furler’s Chandelier. Burchmore took to the stage in an oversize bow and eye-covering wig as Ashley took on the role of young dancer Maddie Ziegler in a nude body stocking in an hilarious parody. But what truly stood out was Burchmore’s amazing vocals on a technically tricky song. Kudos to this talented lady, beautiful lady. On the opposite end of the scale, Adelaide’s much-loved Robyn Archer also wowed the audience with The Bilbao Song and proved why she is such a worthy recipient of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s Icon Award. Archer started her career here in Adelaide 40 years ago at the Festival Centre on those very stages and to come back to Adelaide again, after paving the way for so many other performers overseas is an amazing achievement. This brings us to the international acts which included festival favourite Barb Jungr who brought a wealth of experience to the stage in her fantastic performance of Bob Dylan’s Things Have Changed, while US performer Amy G let the feathers fly with a comedic, energetic version of Mon Truc En Plumes in which she donned a chicken head and swooshed around feather fans. There was slight disappointment that the two opening weekend headline acts, Dita Von Teese and Megan Hilty, were not in the gala line-up as both had interstate engagements. But the talent on-stage was undeniable and as Eddie and Ali brought the night to a close with Sondheim’s Old Friends they were joined by cabaret stars of the future, Class of Cabaret 2016, as well as many performers from the celebratory night. Now it’s time to see what comes next as the Adelaide Cabaret Festival runs until June 25. Bring it on!
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