After months of meticulous menu planning, at last the places are set, goblets filled and the first sumptuous course is ready to be devoured. Take your seat for Adelaide Festival Centre’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival opening weekend! For the next 16 days and nights, 147 performances featuring 58 international artists and 372 Australian artists will bare their souls (and perhaps a bit of flesh), offer a few world truths (alternative or otherwise), and dazzle and delight audiences of all ages as they turn the tables on all things cabaret. 

Grand old dame Her Majesty’s Theatre plays host to an Adelaide Cabaret Festival staple, the completely sold-out Variety Performance Gala at 8pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Right before your eyes, Ali McGregor and Eddie Perfect will whisk together this year’s hottest, coolest, spiciest, and sauciest acts. The red carpet will roll out again on Saturday afternoon for attendees of all ages at the Family Gala.

Jumping into the opening night frying pan comes fiery Fascinating Aïda founding member Dillie Keane, with the Australian premiere of original and well-loved songs in Hello Dillie. Opening night also serves up the velvety-voiced Naomi Price (currently wowing audiences Australia-wide with last year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival hit, Rumour Has It) who honours The Beatles’ most beloved women in Lady Beatle, and perennial favourite Michael Griffiths is Lucky: Songs by Kylie. Both shows are backed by show-stopping bands and brand-new arrangements.

You’re free to choose your cabaret show as you please, but if you’re stuck with your family, those highs and lows are explored by prodigal globetrotting daughter Liz, played by Christie Whelan Browne in Steve Vizard’s volatile new piece Vigil. Meanwhile cannelloni addicts can rejoice: newly relocated from The Bistro to the Banquet Room due to high demand is the interactive cookery class paired with a smattering of Italian family recipes and tales in Linda Catalano’s One Suitcase, Four Stories. Sobering memories are gently combined with scandalous humour and song in Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs, also with a matinee performance added due to a swiftly-devoured evening show.

Artistic Director Ali McGregor:
“Last year's festival was unlike any I had experienced before. Mainly because we shared so many of our favourite artists with you and you embraced them so utterly! So to thank you for your trust and your excellent taste, this year we have brought you EVEN MORE. We have people creating quiet revolutions in dance and theatre, loud revolutions with burlesque and tomfoolery and dissonant revolutions with unique musical collaborations. The tables are turning, the ground is unsteady, but these shows will guide you through the fray. The common theme throughout is one of LOVE: love through the discovery of another’s story, a shared enjoyment of song, or the ability to laugh maniacally at ourselves. Plus, this year we come armed with a Spiegeltent, which is not only my natural habitat, but also a venue created for wine-laden winter’s nights! Vive le Cabaret!” 

Artistic Director Eddie Perfect:
"With our 2017 Festival about to commence, I'm once again excited and nervous to strap myself in for what promises to be another wild ride. It's certainly a balancing act; making sure we give our courageous and loyal audience a bit of what they want, a dose of what they need, and a whole bunch of the spontaneous and unexpected. When I reflect on what made 2016 such an exciting festival for me, it is honestly the connections I made with artists and audiences. Every moment with strangers in a bar, foyer, backstage club or pop up food van strengthened my connection to cabaret; what other art form connects so intimately with an audience? I hope to see familiar and new faces in the coming weeks, as we share more moments that celebrate/commiserate the glory/horror of our imperfect world through music, song, tears and laughter. Bring it on!"

Three powerhouse artists join the fray from USA hot spots San Francisco (virtuoso guitarist Bill Frisell with new interpretations of classic American cinema tracks), New York City (bold, brash and beatifically breasted comedian Bridget Everett), and Los Angeles (honey-smooth jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves). Both Bridget and Dianne make their Adelaide debuts.

Minister for the Arts the Hon. Jack Snelling MP:
“As a staple event on local, national and increasingly international calendars, Adelaide Cabaret Festival is set to once again dazzle audiences with its unique brand of winter warmth that has thousands flocking to the city each June. The Government welcomes back honorary South Australians, Ali McGregor and Eddie Perfect, as their second program exploring the ins and outs of cabaret is brought to life by their impeccable team.”  

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and Artistic Director Douglas Gautier:
“Having just welcomed more than 22,000 schoolchildren and their families for this year’s DreamBIG Children’s Festival, the seventeenth Adelaide Cabaret Festival, is raring to go. Redevelopment works are underway at Adelaide Festival Centre and along Adelaide Riverbank and we’re ready and set in every venue, from the Dunstan Playhouse to the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent on the Adelaide Convention Centre lawns, the Wintergarden overlooking the Riverbank Footbridge, and Her Majesty’s Theatre where beloved names Paul Kelly, Camille O’Sullivan, Michael Feinstein and headline act Alan Cumming will grace the stage. We can’t wait to welcome new visitors, families, and diehard cabaret fans to our 2017 offering and we couldn’t do it without any of them.” 

Performances that promise to explore if music really is the food of love include Sarah-Louise Young and Michael Roulston’s delightfully witty Songs For Lovers (and Other Idiots) and one woman musical comedy impresario Gillian Cosgriffs possibly-proposal-inspired To the Moon and Back. Heavenly bodies of a different kind are centre of the display window when the brazen bodies and chiseled chests of Briefs debut their Close Encounters.

Comedic darlings Colin Lane, David Collins and Amy G ask why have just one Mikado when you can have Three Mikados? But there will only ever be one Carlotta: Queen of the Cross who over the course of 70 minutes of heartfelt songs and beautifully funny stories will condense the best of the past 50 years to prove exactly why she was the real-life inspiration for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert!

Crowds will continue to clamour for the first week of the Backstage Club, which promises a sizzling specials board of the hottest acts and the most chilled-out tunes, served up in one outrageous arrangement hosted by emcee extraordinaire and Club Swizzle star Murray Hill who promises to stay up way past his bedtime, just for you.

Committed to keeping both the literal and figurative wheels turning just as smoothly as the tables, Adelaide Festival Centre is delighted to provide a free shuttle bus from Her Majesty’s Theatre to Adelaide Festival Centre (one way only and spaces limited), departing after every evening Her Majesty’s Theatre performance. Audiences are also reminded that the tram can be caught for free from Victoria Square to the Adelaide Railway Station stop, where the cheerily cosy Cabaret Wintergarden is mere steps away…

Situated this year on the Riverdeck outside the Dunstan Playhouse, The Wintergarden is firmly on the front burner, where you can sip on a mulled wine and enjoy winter warming cuisines. Hearty sit-down meal options are also available at the Bistro and Foyer Café. With the Festival Theatre playing host to Matilda the Musical, Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s shows are located in the Dunstan Playhouse, Space Theatre and Artspace; a short walk away to Her Majesty’s Theatre in Grote St; and in its delectable debut, the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, located next to Adelaide Festival Centre on the Adelaide Convention Centre lawns.

There are free events aplenty with the return of Songwriter Series, hosted by Eddie Perfect and featuring a top secret line-up of musical theatre and cabaret’s most masterful minds, and Art Stories hosted by Chris Drummond, where Steve Vizard, Carlotta, Sarah Louise-Young and Fez Faanana will swap stories and discuss the moments that led to their success giving step by step insight into what drives and inspires human creativity.

During the middle week, get up close and personal with your favourite cabaret performers with two special ABC Radio Adelaide events. Peter Goers will conduct a live outdoor broadcast from the Wintergarden on 14 June from 7 – 10pm, whilst on 17 June in the Artspace, Sonya Feldhoff will join a variety of artists onstage for an intimate chat about what truly makes them tick in Cabaret Catch Up from 2 – 4pm.

Pop down to the Piano Bar at the Bistro at 9pm each night of the opening weekend to hear beloved Adelaide Cabaret Festival ‘’repeat customers’’ Amelia Ryan and John Thorn take over the stage for all of the singalongs, satire and silvery voices you can shake a sugary stick at.

In search of some late night sustenance for the soul or simply a means to burn off some calories? From 11:30pm every Friday and Saturday night (as well as the Sunday night of opening weekend), the Bistro plays home to Late Night DJs, whilst jazz standards and snapping original tunes are served up care of local band The AirBenders in Bands in the Wintergarden.

Aged between 18 and 30s? Join Adelaide Festival Centre’s Greenroom program for cheap tickets, free workshops and special events. adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au/greenroom

All tickets, program details and hard copies of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival brochure are available through BASS 131 246 or online adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au

Adelaide Cabaret Festival sincerely thanks:
Government Partner: Arts South Australia
Festival Partners: Coopers, Wilson Parking, Adelaide Casino, City of Adelaide, South Australian Tourism Commission
Associate Partners: Grant Burge Wines, Lexus of Adelaide,
Media Partners: The Advertiser, Channel 7, FIVEaa, Avant Card, ABC Radio Adelaide, MIX 102.3
Supply Partners: Stamford Plaza Adelaide, Pol Roger

Media can access media releases from adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au/news/media

Media kits can also be accessed via Dropbox here: dropbox.com/sh/xdro4353q02zl9l/AAB6Fbb5x_IeMOj9AE6m0bNga?dl=0

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Francesca Belperio 08 8216 8699 / 0402 842 204 francesca.belperio@adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au
Sophie Gardner 08 8216 8796 / 0402 593 672 sophie.gardner@adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au
Clare Axford 08 8216 8507 / 0414 794 400 clare.axford@adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au