Filling the shoes of the very successful duo of David and Lisa Campbell of recent years, newly appointed Artistic Director, Kate Ceberano revealed the re-branded, re-jigged and re-designed Adelaide Cabaret Festival to a packed house at the Adelaide Festival Theatre on Saturday night.
This year’s festival is a very welcome return to a seemingly less commercial and more truly cabaret genre, featuring 110 international artists from the USA, UK, Canada, France, Ireland and Australia. 194 Australian artists, 110 of which are South Australian (although this is a fudge of a figure given 54 of those artists make up the Adelaide Art Orchestra) will also appear in the festival.
What is really surprising is the lack of “headliner” act this year… and really this is to the benefit of the audiences and not at all an indication of the quality of the acts.
The star quality is spread far and wide - particularly for musical theatre lovers. Bernadette Robinson, Lea Salonga, Mary Wilson, Katie Noonan, Eden Espinosa, Debra Byrne, Mark Nadler, Tim Freedman, Sherie Rene Scott, Ben Vereen, Lenny Henry… all acclaimed amazing talents in their own right and just one small part of this eclectic, eccentric and electric program.
It’s not just the celebrity superstars that fill the program either. There’s a fine collection of lesser known up-and-coming acts gleaned from around the globe that are bound to become favourites for festival-goers so that we can all say “we saw them when”. This is the fun of the Cabaret Festival that Ceberano has latched onto and accentuated to create a stunning program that really intrigues and delights… lots to satisfy the “general public” audiences and even more to satisfy the die-hard Cabaret Festival crowd.
Added to the program content, Ceberano along with friend and artist, David Bromley is re-designing some of the performance spaces, the look and the feel of the festival. Looking at the newly branded, vintage-style brand of the program and marketing, here’s hoping this feeds through to the venues as it really heightens the feeling of smokey cabarets in Europe where many of us may be inspired to don a beret and take up smoking from long cigarette holders and speak in husky tones (…no? Just me then?).
Whether you’re local, interstate or overseas, Adelaide is definitely the place to be in June 2012 and Kate Ceberano and her team promise so much… Hurry as many shows are popular and bound to sell out quickly if previous years are anything to go by!
My top picks for 2012:
- Lea Salonga — Sure, she created the role of Kim in Miss Saigon but really we’re going to see her because she was the voice of Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin.
- Johanna Allen in Mixtape and Other Stories — Adelaide’s own girl returns home to shine.
- Justin Burford in Kurt — Gen X audiences should flock to this one… Burford’s performance at the launch brought the ghost of 90’s grunge rock and we kind of loved it.
- Lenny Henry — funny, charismatic and a fantastic set of pipes… bring on Lenny’s Tour De Funk
- Bernadette Robinson in Songs for Nobodies — a superstar of musical theatre under the direction of Simon Phillips in a production written by Joanna Murray-Smith. Three temptations for the price of one!