Hosted by the festival’s joint artistic directors, Ali McGregor and Eddie Perfect, and set on a semi-dressed stage, this was billed as the “ultimate night of cabaret”.
There were a few stand-out performances, including Maeve Marsden and Libby Wood, who belted out a brilliant tribute to Mother’s Ruin from their world-premiere show of the same name. These two can look forward to a great career in cabaret or musical theatre.
Otto and Astrid, the self-proclaimed Prince and Princess of Europop, were clever and funny. Their show, Die Rotten Punkte, should be a lot of fun. And New York’s Amy G has all the sass and class and long, long legs of the perfect New York showgirl – even dressed as a chicken!
The audience hit of the night was definitely Miss Behave and her assistant Harriet, with excerpts from Miss Behave’s Gameshow. Get out your phones and get a laugh. The spangly Miss B has the attitude and Harriet has the moves, even giving one nervous theatre-goer a private lap dance.
Veteran performer Robyn Archer was presented with this year’s Cabaret Icon Award (previous recipients include Rhonda Burchmore, Frank Ford and Reg Livermore). Archer also performed, giving a laid-back rendition of the cabaret classic The Bilbao Song, and Burchmore did a comedy skit from her show Twins.
But there were a few awkward moments. Frank Woodley opened the gala with technical difficulties and Bobby Fox’s super-smooth rendition of the Frankie Valli love-song “Stay” was undermined by an unflattering mix. It also has to be said that the immensely talented Hew Parham was wasted playing the “incompetent” stage manager; he’s so skilled – go see him this weekend in Rudi’s The Rinse Cycle at the Artspace.
Full marks to the gala’s glamorous musical director, Vanessa Scammell, and the musicians who did a splendid job throughout the show. It was also good to see the Class of Cabaret 2016 on stage for the final number.
The Variety Gala was for one night only, but performers can be seen in various shows throughout the Cabaret Festival, which continues until June 25. Ali McGregor and Eddie Perfect are hosting The Family Gala on Sunday afternoon, while the Last Galah, on June 25, will also feature a collection of festival artists performing Australian songs.
See all InDaily’s Cabaret Festival stories and reviews here.
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