The Adelaide Cabaret Festival wrapped up yesterday (or early this morning, judging by the status updates on facebook). I spent the last week there, teching the three shows that I wrote/directed over three days, watching them all, and then in one glorious four and a half hour window, running between theatres to watch them. It’s brilliant being able to be in one intense creative environment, where all is revolving around the interpretation of music between 6pm and midnight. I can’t imagine having quite so much fun at a pure theatre festival. My three shows, Experiment, Liza on an E and Newley Discovered all went off brilliantly and impacted as we’d all hoped. There were new joys for all of them;
-seeing Newley in a big, beautiful space – Hugh was created to perform to a big audience – and the show is all about the magic of theatre – so having the lighting tools to really bring that to life was exciting.
-giving Liza class by putting her into a theatre – Trev’s show has always been a celebration of the life force that is both real Liza and Trevor. That love of being in front of people, showing off, and knowing everyone is loving it as much as you and urging you on. But putting a show created in a tiny Sydney pub onto a 600+ theatre showed it had a classiness too.
-Experiment was a premiere show for the Festival. It’s really terrifying putting up a show for the first time. You just have no idea on whether an audience will embrace a show. Audiences are rarely rude, they will tolerate anything – but feeling their indifference is almost worse than outright hostility. Experiment was an interesting show for Alex, James and myself to create – we weren’t doing a Cole Porter bioshow – we were contemporising the arrangements and the story was told entirely through status updates and text messages. And I knew our first audiences would be 60+. First show was smooth and well-received, so we were thrilled. But second show was exciting – there was a buzz through every moment and new song. Watching it, I had that rare thing for me observing one of my own shows – the feeling of, “If you like this moment, I can’t wait for you to see THIS moment”.
I didn’t get to see too much else at the Festival. Smoke and Mirrors was as vibey as a show gets – with a brilliant design and star performances. Meow Meow entranced me again with her ability to make an audience go with her no matter what. And at the Piano Bar there were tons of great performances, but none as exciting as seeing Josie Lane, in flats and a windcheater, take the audience by storm with her version of “Home”.
David and Lisa Campbell believe life and entertainment should be thrilling and thus the Festival is so.