After starring in Billy Elliot, Mama Mia!, Kiss Me Kate and Fiddler on The Roof, Louise Kelly – actor, singer, mother, cabaret performer – brings her new show Gimme to Sydney.
After starring in Billy Elliot, Mama Mia!, Kiss Me Kate and Fiddler on The Roof, Louise Kelly – actor, singer, mother, cabaret performer – brings her new show Gimme to Sydney. We caught up with Louise for a chat about the show which will be playing at The El Rocco Room (formerly Bar Me) on August 15 and 16. Your cabaret “Gimme” is about want – what started you on the journey to creating this show?
Firstly – I wanted to do one.Secondly – I wanted to start on the path of creating my own work. As we all know, it’s bloody hard to land a job and I had been thinking more and more that the answer was making my own opportunities. Thirdly – I wanted to do a show about something other than myself, but couldn’t come up with an idea. Then I attended a Stephen Schwarz concert.
You wrote the show yourself – where did you draw your inspiration?Schwarz himself was at this concert and he played and sang and spoke about his work and what struck me was his chat about the “want” song in a musical. Now, I knew what a “want” song was but I’d never really paid that much attention to the concept. But it got me thinking about how many “want” songs there are in the musical theatre world – how many moments there are where a leading character sings us their dreams! There are TONS of them. What better way to express a heartfelt desire than through song! It’s completely heightened – it can be moving, electric, funny, vibrant, gentle, desperate. I compiled a massive list and from there I started to think about our basic human wants (which also led to some that aren’t so basic – I’m desperate to be able to raise one eyebrow). Once I had decided on the wants, songs just fell into place. Have you ever wanted something you can’t have?I want a King Furniture modular sofa but I can’t afford it. Is there a difference between want and need? The easy answer – Yes, definitely.The harder answer – Lines can be blurry.
- I want a job or I need a job? Do I take a job that may not fulfill me creatively but will put money in the bank (something we all need) and put something on the resume? Do I hold out for a job where I’ll be creatively fulfilled and put money in the bank? Or do I help our mortgage along and take some pressure off our finances? Do I take a job that will take me away from my family? Tours are more common these days. There’s quite a big difference between want and need here.
- I want to support local theatre, local artists, independent theatre, the Australian film and theatre industry or do I need to? There – no difference between the two. I want and need to do both.
Can you give us an idea of the material you will be presenting in your show? What kind of audience is it aimed at?I think it reaches lots of people. Everyone wants, everyone hungers. Everyone dreams for love, respect, a better life. Each song in the show is a ‘want’ song from the musical theatre world. However, even if you’re not a musical theatre lover there are many songs that are recognizable. Someone to Watch Over Me; Over the Rainbow; Money, Money, Money to name just a few.
You’re a mother – how do you juggle what you want from your performing career and your children/family?With great difficulty. Children are heavy – and your 4 year old weighs more than your 1 year old – inconsistent weight makes juggling very tricky. At least they bounce when you drop them………………….You just do. You prioritize, you organize, you say “no” to some jobs because it’s not what is best for the family, you ask for help, you bake casseroles at 7am so dinner’s on the table when you’re at the theatre , you lean heavily on an incredibly supportive husband (you need one of those). Which actor/performer would you most want to work alongside?Melle Stewart. I love everything about the way she works, the way she thinks and I want to be more like her. That, and the fact she makes me guffaw til my nose runs. The Australasian tour of Mamma Mia was our first gig together and I want there to be another… Wait, am I supposed to say Toni Collete? Toni Collete. In your performing career – who has been your ultimate show-crush?I have had many. Justine Clark. I adore her. And, more importantly, my children adore her. She allows me to get dinner cooked every night without catastrophe. If I ever got to meet her I would stutter and giggle and potentially have a little accident – ones pelvic floor is never the same after one has had children!
…I had a quick look at some of your Q & A articles on the website.My porn name, if you are at all interested, is Puss Whistler – a pretty darn good one if you ask me! Gimme is playing for two nights only, Mon 15 & Tues 16 August at the El Rocco Room, Kings Cross. Tickets are available through moshtix for $17 (plus booking fee) or at the door for $25.