Apr 06

RAW: Cabaret Festival Launch – Festival Theatre – 2 April 2011

By Julia Loipersberger

A gala night of nights, the Festival Theatre packed in almost 2,000 eager Adelaideans desperate to find out which acts would be showcasing their talent at the 2011 Adelaide Cabaret Festival, kicking off in June.

MC’d ably (but somewhat superfluously) by the enthusiastic Amanda Blair, the evening kicked off with various speeches of gratitude and celebrations for what has become the largest festival of its kind in the world. A pleasing coup for our state, the enthusiasm of our Premier Mike Rann, the Artistic Director and CEO of the Adelaide Festival Centre David Gautier and the Chair of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival Committee Frank Ford was palpable.

But everyone was really only there to see – and hear from – the divine Artistic Director David Campbell as he announced the line-up for 2011, his swansong year in this role. Ever the showman like his famous father, David lit up the stage with rapturous accolades for each one of the local and international acts he had selected, including anecdotes about how they had come to be added to the line-up. A great touch were teaser performances by Tim Draxl (performing during the festival in ‘Freeway – The Chet Baker Story’), Gillian Cosgriff (a mini-Tim Minchin whose act is entitled ‘Waitressing, And Other Things I do Well’ and will be well worth seeing) and the inimitable Leo Sayer.

As someone who has never attended one of our Cabaret Festivals, I found myself growing increasingly excited about the prospect of attending this year.

Based on David’s passionate summaries, my insider’s top tips would have to be:-

  • Chita Rivera, the still ridiculously stunning septuagenarian Broadway performer and Tony award winner in ‘My Broadway’ , a collection of her greatest hits throughout a lengthy career;
  • Josie Lane in ‘Josie in the Bathhouse’, described as a Bette Midler retrospective;
  • the fabulous Leo Sayer in ‘The Show Must Go On’. Frankly, if he had been the headline act I would still have been thrilled;
  • Mark Vincent, the schoolboy wunderkind made famous by Australia’s Got Talent some years ago making us all feel old in his show Diciasette;
  • Toby Francis in Blokelahoma! performed by a 23 year old guy with a rebel’s perspective on life but the voice (as David assures us) of a rock god;
  • Urban Display Suite, a satire show which pokes fun at that most serious of institutions – the real estate industry; and
  • (of course)the headline act and huge coup for David, the gorgeous Olivia Newton-John

There is much more to appeal to every taste and preference in cabaret music. With an action-packed program of dozens of performers, including much local talent, the Cabaret Festival is definitely worth checking out during 2011. And, if you’re lucky, you might get to see David Campbell in the flesh.

(I’m sure the Festival will be worth) 5K

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