CABARET FESTIVAL – JASON KRAVITS – OFF THE TOP! – 4K

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Witty, clever and a master of silliness Kravits displays a formidable talent for infectious comic improv cabaret.
As we arrived at our Banquet Room tables pen and paper were awaiting our suggestions : words to live by, a place, a thing, an adjective, a short phrase, our last text sent or received. Kravits, transformed into Adelaidean Curtis Turnworth, took a suggestion sheet from the pot after already introducing a song, but before announcing its title. This led to hilarious combos such as a fun, swinging song titled ‘Love Hurts’ (featuring a solo on toy xylophone) and a folkie love song called ‘Go the Crows’.
As a teenager Curtis leaves Adelaide to pursue his dream of a Broadway career (described in a song called ‘Bugger Off’) and ends up stuck on a roundabout in Canberra. His rescue story involving a truck driver is told in ‘Eat Cake’.
A highlight was Louisa Fitzharding joining Kravits in a duet in which they were time travellers and ill-fated lovers singing ‘There’s Trouble Ahead’. Admitting that he has been a failure at love and seeking enlightenment on the topic, audience member Maria was invited onto the stage. Maria and husband Sanjay were delightful, their story amusingly eccentric, and they seemed to relish being in the spotlight.
After an elaborate lead into a song about a wonderful place to which he feels a strong connection Kravits was faced with having to come up with a song about… Varanasi. Appearing to know very little about Varanasi he was helped along by pianist John Thorn who contributed such gems as “it’s in India, they have good food there, and they have… a cricket team”.
He was amazingly well supported by the band consisting of drums, double bass and piano. Their task cannot have been easy but they seemed to relish it.
The finale was a manic medley made up out of the remaining suggestions set to a Russian tune with ever increasing tempo, foot stomping and hand clapping from the audience. Purportedly a song written by Nikita Kruschev, it had the audience in stitches.
Kravits kept his audience engaged and entertained throughout. This was a fun night in true cabaret style.
4K

SONGS FOR THOSE WHO’VE COME ACROSS THE SEAS – Slingsby Theatre

ADELAIDE CABARET FESTIVAL   –  Thursday 21st June 2018  Dunstan Playhouse

Review by

GARY CLARKE

With a respectful acknowledgement of Country this talented cast of five cast off into unknown waters.   I  have seen several of the individual performers previously but never a Slingsby production featuring these  artists together.   The set was a mysterious  backdrop of  projected images on huge sails…  The Stage veritably dominated by a cluster of musical instruments, microphone stands, amps,  electronic gee-gaws and a full set of drums and percussive instruments.     Cameron Goodall introduced the vehicle;  a book about An Island In Time that his Grandma gave him when he was a child.   This is an imaginary musical journey sailing into the waters of allegory.   The premise is based on the generation and evolution of a volcanic “island” to a complex and thriving ecosystem  in balance  with itself over time.

Then the interlopers arrive and gradually dominate the ecosystem and the island.  They begin to break up into factions and fight over territory, destabilising everything and destroying the balance of this Eden.  They turn their attention to another Island nearby and set off for a new life.   Eventually the Island returns to its previous balance and the new Island is destroyed leaving a barren lifeless rock,  adrift in a cruel sea.    The scene zooms out further and further until we see the Earth, alive and its antithesis  Mars .     The musical performances are excellent and the set and animation is poignant in its simplicity.

Leah Flanagan and Cameron Goodall at times harmonise their voices so beautifully and one could easily imagine them performing together as a duo in other guises.  The multi instrumental, multi talented troupe played up a storm.    Satomi Onishi on drums and percussion with Quincy Grant, Cameron Goodall, Leah Flanagan, and Gareth Chin, each taking turns on vocals  and variously on keyboards, piano accordion, saxophone, banjo, ukelele, guitars,  clarinet and more steered us through the treacherous seas of our emotions.   Directed flawlessly by Andy Packer.

While this show would stand on its own via it’s music, performances and artistic and creative displays it really is far more.   The story alludes to the plight of refugees perhaps fleeing to an Island like ours.  No less poignant and appropriate that this show had its World Premiere on World Refugee Day.  It speaks to the proclivity for humans to drift out of balance with their environment with the macro view of Earth and Mars as island planets adrift in the cosmos .  Perhaps a lesson of what may happen to an “Island” in time.   It is a   delightful show, clever, original,  a little quirky, exotic, creative, meaningful and oh so very entertaining.   That’s a winning formula for me.            4.5K

ADELAIDE CABARET FESTIVAL 2018 – NOSFERATUTU – 5K

by Riccardo Barone

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Una furtiva lagrima of blood, pizza, spaghetti and buongiorno.

The audience found hard to leave the Banquet room still absorbed by the endless, emotional, energetic, hectic flow.

Tears are mixing up with laughts; the existential Shakespearean (in)human condition of Nosferatu is touching everyone’s heart, feeling heaps of pity for his traumatic childhood, or for his classic ballet dancer dreams crushed on his dad’s abusive wall, in favour of  his sister’s ones.

Being Nosferatu could be really dramatic. Dealing with his centenary age sum up with tiredness, loneliness and tedious life.

Perhaps, between a bite and another, a partner will make this no-life a little bit more yahooy, especially if she egregiously sings.

The show’s rhythm is fast, there is no time to think about the train of thoughts that just passed; probably the climax will be sarcastically interrupted, tragically cut off, emotionally censored, with one teary eye looking at the past and the other eye focused on the pleasure which the present can offer.

An exemplary trio (violin, cello and piano) was commenting the tragicomic scenes with re-arranged excepts from Tchaikovsky’ s Swan Lake and pop hits.

“Love. Betrayal. Death.”

Kryztoff rating: 5k

CABARET FESTIVAL – Joanna Allen – Space Theatre – 4K

By Peter Maddern

Recurring performer at the Cabaret Festival and local girl made good Johanna Allen premiered her new show last night, this time about Cake. It may have been a topic a little less indulged in than last year’s expose about gin, but Allen was in fine form with her melodious voice carrying sweetly whether comfort eating on Cole Porter or making marshmallows  with Material Girl.

Enough to make you hungry for more, much more, Johanna Allen makes you musically yearn for all those delightful indulgences that we usually get shamed about by the rowdies but this is one overdose of sugar you don’t have to be embarrassed about. Enjoy it with tea or coffee.

Kryztoff Rating   4K

CABARET FESTIVAL – TOM WAITS For No Man – 5K

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Sunday 17th June 2018.

Review by GARY CLARKE

While the show  titled Tom Waits For No Man has been around in various incarnations for more than a decade  I am confident none has surpassed this night’s offering.  This was way beyond mere cabaret.  More like sublime musical theatre.  With an ensemble cast made up from the pick of this years Cabaret Festival and hosted by the ubiquitous Mikelangelo,  this was the standout performance of the whole festival for me so far.  The set was stunning.   The lighting and sound were spot on.  The stage design, direction and musical arrangements created a wonderful atmosphere  that complemented the delightful range of voices and interpretations of Waits’ classics.

Everyone was brilliant.  Mikelangelo came closest to channeling the voice and timbre of Waits .  His take on Goin’ Out West and Hold On were breathtaking. The superb musical backing  included a veritable orchestra of therumin, musical saw,  melodica, a cracking guitar,  violin, bass, drums, keyboards, piano accordion, spoons, collective percussion and more!  Brilliant musical direction and arrangements from Charly Zastrau underpinned the whole performance.

Butt Kapinski  (Deanna Fleysher) provided wonderful interludes of hilariously earnest, deadpan monologues of  What’s He Building In There.   Delivered expertly whilst negotiating the audience space.   The curvaceous Carla Lippis adorned in a black cat suit punched out raunchy renditions of songs like  Make it Rain and the fabulous  Xmas Card To  A Hooker In New York.   Joey Arias reached down into the soul to deliver a moving  This Ones From The Heart.   Queenie Van De Zandt pushed the emotional envelope with her version of Martha.  Ali McGregor gave us Ice Cream Man.   Lachlan Ricks performed an Aerial tribute to Blue Valentine launched from his wheelchair and Charly Zastrau nailed it with a fast bluesy Melodica solo.

It was utterly heartwarming as the whole ensemble came together for moving renditions of Hoist The Rag and the extraordinary anthem of Waltzing Matilda.  The whole performance and the warmth and camaraderie of the cast mirrored the earthy inclusiveness of Waits lyrical poetry and embraced an enraptured audience.  While I could taste the whiskey and smell cigar smoke  I detected just a hint of Brecht in the air.    This is making it real.    Bravo!!      … 5K

CABARET FESTIVAL – The Girl Who Jumped Off the Hollywood Sign – 4K

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Joanne Hartstone is building quite the career on interesting, engaging monologues of strong women. Following her premiere of That Daring Australian Girl at this year’s Adelaide Fringe, Hartstone brings her production The Girl Who Jumped Off the Hollywood Sign back to Adelaide after a year touring it to Edinburgh and the US.

Evie Edwards is preparing to leap to her death off of the iconic Hollywood sign, just like Peg Entwhistle. She details her attempts at stardom, her cinematic idols, her dream start at MGM, and her heartbreaking fall into the depths of despair. A singer and actress, Evie is stuck between having talent, but not being ‘pretty enough’ for the movies. Set in the 1940s, some of the assertions that Evie makes about the hypocrisy of celebrity ring true today.

Combining monologues with 1940s inspired songs, Hartstone gives her all to the production, taking the audience on the rollercoaster ride of Evie’s life. With tidbits of Hollywood information scattered throughout, Evie lives her life by the celebrities she idolises, and Hartstone captures that well.

If you get the chance to see this engaging performance by this talented local actress, producer, and arts everywoman, be sure to buy the ticket.

Kryztoff Rating: 4K

CABARET FESTIVAL – WINE BLUFFS – Damien Callinan & Paul Calleja – 4.K

The Wine Bluffs

ADELAIDE CABARET FESTIVAL 

BANQUET ROOM   – Saturday 15th June 2018

Review by GARY CLARKE 

Do you like wine?   Have you got a wicked sense of humour?  Yes?  Then you will feel right at home with these two very witty performers.  What does your cellar look like?   Does it have see- through glass walls into your swimming pool perhaps?  Then you qualify as  a “Wine Wanker” and will be issued with a T shirt emblazoned with that sobriquet.

Wine Bluffs is one enormous piss-take where the audience are invited to participate… and they did!  Damien and Paul’s witty repartee and attention to local provenance in regard to their material worked a treat on this receptive audience .  All things viniferous were fair game.  Political wines like The Pauline Hanson :  a  red that goes off if placed near foreign objects …   A South Australian ‘whine':  The Christopher Pyne is only available in piccolos.    A night of intoxicating humour blurring the distinction between oenologist and onanism .      Highly Recommended   4.K

ADELAIDE CABARET FESTIVAL 2018 – SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT – 3.5K

by Riccardo Barone

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Total eclipse of the heart… just because a partial one is not enough!
Sunglasses at night, an iconic song just to describe a past generation made up with heartaches, hangovery headaches, stories of everyday life that sucks more and more, sadness as a life-pose and success as time line life crescendo (from the stalls to the stars).

After five minutes waiting for something to happen, the pianist walks to the stage and between chords and melodies meaows on the mic all of that “so eighty” sounds effects.

Geraldine Quinn gradually walks between the audience and once reaches the stage she will make you sing along with her theatrical voice, enhancing and wisely exaggerating the lyrics of the repertoire, pure stereotypes and cliches of the ’80s which, for your karaokeing pleasure, are displayed on a white screen. These handwritten lyrics come straight from a teen-ager full of Madonna and Simon Le Bon posters hanged on the walls of her room, with comments and notes on it between brackets showing all her heartbreakings, after she has just finished to note them on a piece of paper going back and forward on her stereo-cassette, in the melancholic and angry days of her adolescence, giving room even for some funny rebus.

Be ready to be picked up from your seat and play a very old game on the stage: Le belle statuine will toss you back in your childhood where you were naturally testing your acting and modelling skills.

Be prepared to blow into 99 luftballons and see them flying all around the Art Space till the end of the song or till someone will purposely stomp on them.

Kriztoff rating: 3.5k

CABARET FESTIVAL – LAWRENCE LEUNG – VERY STRANGE THINGS

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4.5K

Lawrence Leung tells us that there are two kinds of people – the puzzle solvers, and the lovers of puzzles. In ‘Very Strange Things’ he caters to both types, and to those who sit somewhere between the two extremes.
After delivering a brief history of the debunking of various psychics and mediums, and details of some of their tricks and ruses, he proceeds to astonish and amaze his audience. Besides being an award-winning comedian, writer and director he demonstrates that he is also an accomplished mentalist. He takes us on an entertaining ride through ESP tests, suggestion, trickery, cold-reading and mind games. He lays a wispy trail of clues which, if we weren’t cleverly distracted by the other enigmas he casts our way, could probably lead us to rational explanations of the riddles we are witnessing.
Aside from one example he does not reveal his techniques but certainly leaves us with plenty of ideas and possibilities to mull over. Late in the show he gives us the opportunity to choose between being a puzzle lover or a puzzle solver simply by deciding to close our eyes, or to leave them open.
Lawrence assures us that he has no psychic or special powers and that there is no collusion with members of the audience. Any doubts about the latter tend to disappear when witnessing the shock and bewilderment of the volunteers. Particularly that of the young couple who participated in an experiment designed to show that subconscious links exist between people. He is certainly good at reading body language, and at influencing thought, decisions and perceptions of reality.
Very Strange Things comes across as being very rehearsed but Leung is skilful in making spontaneous alterations when things, or people, go awry.
The show was both entertaining and thought provoking, with much discussion between audience members continuing in the lobby afterwards.
Having moved from a youthful position of wanting to believe, to one of scepticism, Leung says that he is interested in the “psychology of belief, deception and why people believe weird things”.
As promised, this was “An enigmatic night of mind games for game minds”.
4.5K

CABARET FESTIVAL 2018 – Carla Lippis: Cast a Dark Shadow – 5K, Adelaide Festival Centre

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Chanteuse Carla Lippis, supported by her talented band, rips through a range of rock and roll classics, original tunes, and cabaret classics in an excellent hour of entertainment that does the Adelaide Cabaret Festival proud.

Chic in black outfits, her trademark bob, and blood-red lipstick, Lippis is instantly iconic as she works her way through a number of amazing tunes. From Jefferson Airplane, to a song she wrote about Johnny Rotten, Lippis’ voice is spectacular enough to carry any tune. Declaring ‘scary is the new sexy’, Lippis doesn’t hold back as she sings about sex, blood, and rock and roll. Backed by the incredibly talented Victoria Falconer on the piano, as well as a band consisting of guitarist Geoff Crowther (pictured above), Lippis puts her own spin on Nirvana, reworks L7 with a masterful mixture of energy, humour, and sheer talent, and closes the night with a goose-bump-inducing version of Bang Bang.

The ease with which Lippis belts out incredible tunes is remarkable – she barely breaks a sweat as she hits notes other singers must dream of. An Adelaidean through and through, Lippis is vivacious and electric on stage; she states that when she got the call up to Cabaret Fest she felt as though she’d “made it”, and you can feel her excitement and energy as she takes to the stage.

There’s one show left on Saturday 16 June, so make sure you don’t miss out on this authentic, jaw-dropping, and mesmerising Cabaret Festival experience.

Kryztoff rating: 5K