CABARET FESTIVAL – Butt Kapinski – Artspace – 3.5K

By Peter Maddern

At the other end of the risk scale (to doing a tribute hour of Linda Ronstadt) is the high wire act of Butt Kapinski, private detective in his / her own film noir fantasy. Sporting a street light over her head and otherwise only armed with a lisp, Kapinski immerses her audience in the story of a murder, the search for clues and the mixing it with the high and low lifes of New York.

I doubt last night’s show was one  Kapinski would wish to remember – some buffoon took her on with cooking ‘woodles in a wok’ – but the potential is enormous provided there is fulsome audience indulgence in the twist and turns.

Maybe a challenge for Adelaide’s more traditional Cabaret Festival patrons but in a room of engaged punters this has the potential of being a golden hour – make sure you ready to play your ‘pwart.

Kryztoff Rating  3.5K

CABARET FESTIVAL – Rock Venus – Banquet Room – 4K

By Peter Maddern

Linda Ronstadt is a name known to most who came of age in the 1970s, her music commercial, catchy and often intriguing. Jane Clifton takes us back to those days with a snappy, well scripted hour of memories with the age of her audience tightly defined by when the songs first released.

Embracing the songs of others without shame, from names such as Roy Orbison, the Eagles, Jackson Browne and J.D. Souther, Ronstadt kept punching them out and Clifton and her four piece band open with Different Drum, her first hit, and takes us through the likes of Blue Bayou, You’re no Good and When Will I Be Loved. It does not take much dreaming off to feel the legend is in the room with us so well does Clifton catch some of the most distinctive notes of Ronstadt’s voice.

This is an excellent show and if you are lover of the music one you could happily sit through 100 times.

Kryztoff Rating   4K



Exhibiting his usual extraordinary charisma this consummate storyteller seduces his audience and leads them through the story of a young Yugoslav who realises that he is destined to carry on where Elvis left off. We travel across streams, through gypsy camps, nightclubs and war as the Balkan Elvis clings to his dreams and ambition despite life and unappreciative audiences getting in his way.
Sometimes hilarious, sometimes tender, sometimes both, Mikelangelo’s velvety baritone vocals deliver fabulous Balkan renditions of such classics as ‘Viva Dubrovnik’ and ‘Red Suede Shoes’. His version of ‘If I Can Dream’, accompanied only by piano accordion is tender and beautiful.
Supported by the ‘Zagreb All Stars’ on piano accordion, double bass, trumpet, sax and drums he takes us on a rollicking ride through the Eastern Bloc of the 1970s and 1980s. The inclusion of a troupe of ‘Ukrainian’ belly dancers for some of the numbers adds to the surreal folktale feel of this cabaret show.
Not being an Elvis devotee myself I was a bit slow on the uptake of some of the in-jokes enjoyed by those around me who were more familiar with the songs and lyrics but one definitely doesn’t need to be an Elvis fan to enjoy oneself here.
We were encouraged to get to our feet and dance for the last song and when we were slow to respond Mikelangelo came down and took us by the hand and helped us up. (Maybe we were just waiting for him to do so).
The lobby afterwards was full of smiling faces and the spontaneous group singing of ‘It’s Now or Never’ in the queue for the ladies toilets after the show was a delight.
Last chance to see the Balkan Elvis at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is on Thursday 14th June at 6:30pm. If you are unlucky enough to miss this one you can see Mikelangelo appearing as the husband of Yma Sumac in Ali McGregor’s show about the Peruvian songbird.


by Riccardo Barone

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50 shades of opera is the truth! Erotism, passion, fire, seduction are hidden in the opera libretto, here showed and wisely enhanced by the duo Antoniette Halloran/Patrick Lawrence. Their catchy cabaret interacts with the audience and steals many tears because the moving interpretation of classics from “Send in the clowns” to “Quando m’en vó” by Giacomo Puccini.

The scene spins around a girl searching for love in a coffee. Her partner in crime: the pianist which suggests her tricks and tips on how to not fail the mission.
Have been performed biographical sketches on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his wife Nannarel, on Giacomo Puccini and his secret (not really secret) lover letting everyone understand how contemporary could be the love-scenario and its procedures of centuries ago.

The arrangements are brilliant, adapted ad hoc and performed with precision and passion, enhancing and translating the emotions from the scene to the score, rich of madrigalismi.

During the quiet moments of the show live music coming from next door was heardt by chatty audience being disappointed.
But the show must go on and on till she has an unexpected climatic experience…

Kryztoff rating: 4k


by Riccardo Barone


“It’s so quiet here in Adelaide, isn’t it?”
It could be quite quiet, but the audience needs to find quietly, peacefully the right connection with the Artist on the stage.

A well refined country blues atmosphere, a warm nostalgic voice coming from the past accompanied by her acoustic guitar, bass, another guitar, piano, drums is capturing everyone’s breath in the Festival Centre’s Dunstan Playhouse. Madeleine Peyroux with her jazzy’ n’ folky stories is fascinating the audience which can’t contain at the end of the performance all the joy and the  appreciation that has been progressively quietly growing up.

The pianist also steals attention with his solos and his style. On the top of his electric piano: a diamonica. It’s just surprising to hear this timber out of the blue, being such a gift and a discovering. It is a neglected and an undervalued instrument which finds here its expressivity and presence.

Tradition and innovation had been reached here with success breezed through poetry and sentimentalism.

Kryztoff rating: 3.5



by Riccardo Barone

What happens if Cher would consider having a try on Barbara Streisand’s one? How would it sound like if Whitney Houston starts to sing Celine Dion?

Christina Bianco’s voice is extremely flexible, in a continuous metamorphosis, a firework with a noticeable virtuosity which states “We are our past heroes”. It is impossible to not be under the influence of who we grew up with; our favourite musicians are impressed for ever in our hearts and minds becoming the peel of our skin.

The show looks like a trip in her childhood/adolescence, where she let us witness her crushes on her favourite singers in an original way, interacting with the pianist who rings the bell and asks for the next song in alphabetical order, as a quiz show, leaving room for some acting and reading in the same style as Barbra Streisand.

The Pianist/Music Director himself sings a couple of songs with her and everything else flows in its best.
The audience explodes in laughter/screams as a natural consequence of such an energetic – hilarious show.
The band consists in guitar, bass/double bass, drums, piano. The songs ‘ arrangements are very clever and well performed, where styles and genres mix with each other in a logical manner.

This opening night couldn’t be more exciting, enthusiastic and sparkling.

Kryztoff rating: 5k

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Ali Mcgregor- Yma

By GARY CLARKE                                                         Friday 15th June 2018

Not too many humans can boast a vocal register spanning almost 5 octaves. To then employ that extraordinary range to trill and perform baffling sonal calisthenics effortlessly is a rare gift indeed.    Yma Sumac the amazing Peruvian songbird that wowed the world in the 1950’s was one such creature.   Ali Mcgregor, our sublimely talented Cabaret Festival director is also clearly at home soaring in such stratospheric regions of the human voice.

This isn’t just  another “Tribute Show”, this is a veneration.   Ali Mcgregor;  opera singer, cabaret performer, chanteuse and director of numerous festivals,  lovingly explores the life and career of the remarkable  Yma Sumac.   While performing so many  songs that made Yma Sumac  the most successful   artist  in The Capitol Records stable  at the time, outselling  Bing Crosby and other notable superstars of the era,  Ali Mcgregor  weaves in her own story of how she discovered and explored the life and art  of  this enigmatic  performer.

Ali’s performance is utterly faultless and she is accompanied by a talented troupe including Mikelangelo  as her husband Moises,  Lily Paskas-Goodfellow  as her cousin Cholita,  and the musical prowess of a talented sextet .    If like me, you are a fan of Yma Sumac  you will not be disappointed.   If this music is a recent discovery or totally new to you then you are in for a treat.    I doubt anyone could be anything other than impressed at the professionalism and musical prowess evident in this performance.

by Gary Clarke …………………….    4.5K



CABARET FESTIVAL – Amber Martin – Janis: Undead – 4.5K

amber janisamber janis straightBy Julie Robins

Accurately described in the promotional material as  “a psychedelic celebration of the late, great Janis Joplin” this is no mere impersonation, or simple tribute show.
Always a fan of Joplin’s art but not generally fond of tribute shows, I chose to attend this one partly because I was intrigued by the contrast between the image conveyed by the photo of Amber and the content of her show. She looked far too demure, far too straight. She isn’t. Not by a long shot.
Her phenomenal stage presence and incredible vocals held her audience captivated from the moment she entered the room.
Born just one month after Janis’ death, in their shared birthplace of Port Arthur Texas, Amber obviously feels a deep connection to her story. Through song, storytelling and monologue she shares her enthusiasm for her subject.
With an excellent backing band which consisted of her New York based musical director on keyboards and three accomplished Adelaide musicians, the renditions of songs, mostly from the album Pearl, were faultless. A psychedelic light show and band members donning sixties personas soon had us forgetting that it was actually 3pm on an Adelaide Sunday afternoon. Amber’s costume was mildly confusing, and a bit distracting, but her skill and force of personality helped override this.
With passion and humour she led us through a gamut of emotions. She had us laughing, cheering and, occasionally, shedding a tear or two.
This was Amber Martin’s first time performing in Australia. Hopefully she will return. She included one of her own songs in this show and it would be interesting to experience more of her work.

Kryztoff Rating   4.5K

CABARET FESTIVAL – Em Rusciano – Festival Theatre – 2K

By Peter Maddern

Every product based organisation must look to renew and expand their audience in a quickly changing world. Ali McGregor’s punt on putting Em Rusciano alone on the Festival Theatre stage on the opening Saturday night kicked a goal when hordes of younger women piled into the revamped complex, many I would suspect for the first time. But it was all a very long way from the none-too-distant days (or so I thought) when the grace of Olivia Newton-John filled that slot.

If we need a crusader to smash down the male-dominated, phallocentric world of modern Australia then Ms Rusciano is your gal. In a world that seems attracted to ‘look at me’ performers the somewhat narcissistic, name dropping Rusciano did not disappoint evidently speaking what her target audience wanted to hear, saying the things they wanted to say, albeit fully laden with f- and c bombs.   Her opening number I am a F… Woman spoke volumes for how far or not the sisterhood has advanced since Helen Reddy broke this turf near on 50 years ago with her song with the similar but pared back title. Then, Reddy played to a femininity of independence, here Rusciano joyed in swigging sparkling and touching herself.

The second half deteriorated somewhat (or had audience members run out of battery to catch their meme on their Samsung or Apple devices) when, after repeatedly informing us that this was her night and she could do what she wanted, she slagged off her parents for being baby boomers who had the temerity of wishing to better themselves with advanced education rather than sit at home and dote on their little Emma, following which, and to their great discomfort, she got them up on stage dancing.

Frankly, if this is what people want to hear and say and this is what the Cabaret Festival is becoming, beam me up Scotty and get me out of here.

Kryztoff Rating   2K

CIRCUS – Stomp – Entertainment Centre – 4K

Stomp-Image-4By Peter Maddern

Stomp has been a global phenomenon for more than 25 years and its latest incantation is as fresh and fulsomely noisy as any before. For those who enjoyed The Lost and Found Orchestra here during the Festival of Arts you will find the Stomp ensemble less numerous but every bit as rousing in the smaller confines of the Entertainment Centre.

Set in a large car workshop or similar complete with blue liquid drums, burnt up oil cans and beaten up street signs, the seven member cast open with a smart and relatively silent set using brooms but by the end of the 90 minutes just about everything that could be banged, smacked or jumped on has been, everything including the kitchen sink in one of the more inventive and humorous acts.

It’s all quick paced, energetic (to the point of exhaustion) and thoroughly engaging, performed by a cast that range in physique from the muscular and athletic to the overweight complete with pink mohawk haircut.

Highly rated family entertainment performed with an ease that belies its skill.

Kryztoff Rating  4K