The Cabaret Fringe will this year celebrate its tenth event with an opening night gala hosted by stars of the Berlin Cabaret – a “naughty but nice” Weimar-era show that attracted a cult following in its Hindley Street heyday.
“It was an institution,” Cabaret Fringe co-director Eugene Suleau says.
“Anybody and everybody used to go to the Berlin Cabaret show, and in fact The Weimar Room [where performances were held every Friday night in 2003-04] was where the very first Cabaret Fringe took place and Berlin Cabaret was one of the shows.”
That inaugural Cabaret Fringe was in 2003, but the event had a hiatus of a couple of years before it was resurrected by La Boheme’s Paul Boylan.
It is intended that the May 29 gala in this year’s festival – which announced its program today – will pay homage to the event’s original creators and its first venue.
“They [Berlin Cabaret] are re-forming to come back and be the hosts of the opening night gala, which is very exciting for us, and we are hoping some of the fans will come back and relive the glory days,” says Suleau.
“Picture that movie Cabaret, with Liza Minnelli, that sort of German cabaret of the ’20s and ’30s – they try to bring that to life again though costumes and music. The post-First World War attitude to life was a bit more relaxed, easy-going and sexual.”
This year’s Cabaret Fringe runs from May 29 until June 28 and will comprise 42 events at venues including La Boheme, The German Club, Nexus Cabaret, Soul Box and The Promethean.
Suleau says there is a distinct “feminine flavour” to the program, with shows such as To Diva or Not to Diva (featuring Tahlia Ries and Emma Knights), She’s So Fine (a showcase of 1960s female pop stars by The Fabulettes), Midnight Soul (Diana Scalzi and Teresa De Gennaro) and Desperate and Dateless.
One of last year’s Cabaret Fringe favourites, Candy Chambers (aka Jamie Jewell) will return with 50 Forever, a show about a colourful “adult entertainment icon” in which the chanteuse is backed by a four-piece band named The Freckles.
Other acts in the open-access festival include Hans the “German boy wonder”, who will perform a show including songs from this year’s Adelaide Fringe hit Hans in Das Haus; improv artists The Changing Jennifers; burlesque performer Luna Eclipse, and jazz-blues singer Jen de Ness.
“If you’re a fan of the ’60s, you’re covered; if you’re a fan of Doris Day, you’re covered; if you’re a fan of blues, there’s The Birth of the Blues Piano,” Suleau says.
“We have about half a dozen interstate shows, which is up on last year, and I think that’s a good thing because it shows Cabaret Fringe is becoming a bit better known around the country.”
This year’s Cabaret Fringe will include several master-classes and panels aimed at artists and producers. There is also a Dark Burlesque workshop hosted by Miss Porcelain, a former Miss Pinup International winner who will teach a routine that “embodies her unique dark, sexy and empowering performance art style”.
The full Cabaret Fringe program is available online.
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