Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Her Majesty’s Theatre, Friday, June 9
Review by Honey B
Feathers, sparkles and upside-down tables signalled the opening of the 2017 Variety Gala at Her Majesty’s Theatre.The burlesque Briefs lads strutted through the theatre in feathered glory to perform a high-energy routine to the delight of audience members.Host Ali McGregor had also donned her own feathered headwear and sparkling green dress – she could have joined in with the boys!Co-host Eddie Perfect joined McGregor on-stage to talk about the topsy-turvy world we live and to demonstrate Perfect showcased one of his “discarded’’ tunes he has been writing for the upcoming Broadway adaptation of Beetlejuice titled Welcome to A Show About Death.It was a very snappy number that was backed by the Class of Cabaret choir and showcased the talents of festival co-directors Perfect and McGregor.The Variety Gala is always a smorgasbord of the best cabaret acts in the opening weekend and this year we were treated to many outstanding performances.Two of those came from extremely talented women – Christie Whelan-Brown and Naomi Price.On the strength of Whelan-Brown’s Variety Gala performance, Vigil is a show that should not be missed.Commissioned by the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Whelan-Brown plays Liz, a prodigal daughter who has returned home to visit her mother. Heartfelt, passionate, revealing are just a few words that come to mind after her performance.Naomi Price also enthralled with her performance of Eleanor Rigby and her show, Lady Beatle, is another opening weekend must-see.British duo Michael Roulston and Sarah-Louise Young brought the light-hearted and funny to the evening as they sung about why they are not a “perfect match’’.Fellow Brit Dillie Keane had the audience in stitches with her suitably energetic performance of This Ain’t the Hokey Cokey Any More and Australian living legend Carlotta knows just how to entertain and let us know that she is definitely still here performing Sondheim’s, I’m Still Here.On his third visit to Adelaide in as many years, New York funnyman Murray Hill provided his brand of schtick to hilarious effect. Hill is hosting the backstage club throughout the opening weekend.Both Perfect and McGregor also took their chances to return to the stage to perform riveting numbers.McGregor proved once again that she has some of the best pipes in the business performing a rousing version of Carousel which certainly hit the heights and Perfect took to the piano for a beautiful performance of Quiet from Matilda.All too soon it was the end of the evening and Adelaide’s own Michael Griffiths dashed over to Her Majesty’s Theatre after finishing his own show at the Festival Centre. Griffiths paid homage to our own Impossible Princess, Kylie Minogue, with a bit of Locomation and Better The Devil You Know.To wrap up the Class of Cabaret singers joined Perfect, McGregor, Griffiths, Price, Cosgriff and more on-stage for a powerful pop finish.Now it’s time to get into 16 days of Cabaret Festival frivolity and passion. Bring it on.