Entertainment-seekers don’t have long to wait: the eagerly anticipated extravaganza SPIEGELESQUE is set to open its ten-day run on 17th June at the Riverside Theatres, Parramatta, serving up an abundance of much-needed ‘joy, love and laughter’. Patrons hungry for escapism and unalloyed entertainment should ready themselves for a feast: the appetising ingredients of vaudeville, burlesque, cabaret and slapstick all combine to promise a sensory spectacle and a unique theatrical experience.
SPIEGELESQUE’S creator and star, Wayne Scott Kermond, lifts the lid on the show he affectionately describes as his ‘baby’.
A Praiseworthy Provenance
The term ‘show-business royalty’ may be so clichéd as to be rendered meaningless nowadays – but there really isn’t a more accurate way to hail Wayne Scott Kermond. Famously ‘born in a trunk’ – as any Google search will tell you – this fourth-generation showbiz grandee literally does have entertainment in his blood. As well as having a background remarkable in its versatility, Kermond’s ancestors cut their teeth in Sydney’s most iconic venues, including the Tivoli and Trocadero. So punters can be sure of one thing: SPIEGELESQUE is in capable hands. Such is Kermond’s confidence in the show, he and producer wife Katie have funded the entire operation themselves, without soliciting government support. With such belief and investment in the project, expectations for the production can only be sky-high.
The covid landscape has forced the entire arts industry to adapt over the past eighteen months and SPIEGELESQUE is not exempt from this. But this show will most undoubtedly go on, with safety regulations merely refashioning the performance rather than diluting it. Adapting to circumstances is inherent in cabaret and variety, so this need to adapt has not fazed Kermond. Thoroughly invested in his creation, he simply went back to the drawing board and found a way to ensure a production that will be safe as well as engaging.
And what can theatre-goers expect from the show itself? From the outset, patrons are invited to ‘leave [their] real life at the door’ – and the timing for this is perfect. Real life has thrown everyone a whole barrage of curve balls of late. A production with a sense of fun and community has a ‘zeitgeisty’ appeal right now. With the multi-act diversity and classlessness of vaudeville, the derisory humour of burlesque, and the naughty, ‘underground’ nature of cabaret, what can be more intoxicating and celebratory than stepping into such a world for a few hours? Not to mention the role that a few drinks can play…
Playing award-winning master of ceremonies Vayne, Kermond brings intimacy, professionalism and community spirit to proceedings. And it goes without saying: brilliance is virtually guaranteed. This role is, after all, Kermond’s own creation. Interaction with the audience is an integral part of the role, and Kermond is set to give audiences yearning for human connection exactly what they crave. The opportunity to perform ‘off the cuff’ is one that holds no horrors for this seasoned professional, and audiences can expect that every performance will be unique, something no other audience has experienced. This is also a role in which Kermond can confidently bring all his experience to bear, having been involved in the evolution of the whole concept, from its days in the Spiegeltent. Setting up in Glen Street in 2018 and subsequently in a range of Australian venues, Kermond has successfully recreated the ambience and high energy of a circus tent in a static space; he knows what does and doesn’t work. Add to the mix an all-Australian cast of seven diverse and talented performers and the result is pretty fail-safe.
When asked why audiences should go see the show, Kermond is very clear: the unadulterated entertainment, his own brilliance (who isn’t seduced by the confidence?), and the variety-packed style of theatre. Equally clear is the current appeal of cabaret: older audiences connect with the familiarity of the genre – notably the opportunity for engagement and intimacy that comes from the breaking of the fourth wall – while for the younger generation it is something new and different, making it an all-round crowd pleaser. And with the impact of the past eighteen months, it’s no surprise that cabaret is enjoying something of a resurgence.
Summing up the early 2020s, many would point to the isolation, the sacrifices, the fear, the desperation, and the screen as the most constant companion. SPIEGELESQUE offers the opportunity to leave that behind in favour of more joyous characteristics and endeavours – singing, dancing, drinking, laughing, ribaldry, and the long-awaited chance to get up close and personal with real human beings and thrust indulgently into a long-gone era when entertainment was king. The question as to whether or not to catch this show isn’t a question at all. It’s a no-brainer.
SPIEGELESQUE: the perfect antidote.
For tickets visit riversideparramatta.com.au/show/spiegelesque/
Photo Credit: Karen Watson