8 shows to catch at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival

By Lana Guineay

Winter hibernation has its appeal, but this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival (June 9-24) is providing plenty of compelling reasons to get out and make the most of those long frosty nights.

We’ve put together a guide to help you sample this year’s off-beat, sophisticated, contemporary program. Here are 8 of our top picks:

If you like… Roald Dahl, music, orchestras
We recommend: Dahlesque
Because: an inventive homage to the beloved children’s author, this orchestral experience features songs inspired by blockbuster movies like Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach, as well as original compositions of Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes.

Blog770px - Dahlesque 1_Photo credit Harvey House Productions_Graphic design by Mils Achi & Jeff Van De Zandt

If you like… world class jazz, out of control stage presence from a multi-award-winning performer
We recommend: Dianne Reeves
Because: US vocalist Dianne has been described as “the unequivocal jazz voice of our time” and “captivating”. Enough said. But if you need more convincing, she has five Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album, and her stage shows transcend genres including r&b and jazz for a performance style all of her own.

Blog770px - Dianne Reeves_2_Photographer Jerris Madison

If you like… guitars, cinema classics
We recommend: Bill Frisell
Because: The US master has earned his reputation as a guitar virtuoso with 35 years of amazing performances and recordings – spanning everything from blues to pop to classical and everything in between. The Grammy winner plays selections from his latest recording, When You Wish Upon a Star — unique interpretations of some of American cinema’s classic tracks.

Blog770px - Bill Frisell In Concert_4

If you like… musical theatre, Christmas
We recommend: Vigil
Because: this collaboration between former late night host Steve Vizard and jazz figure Joe Chindamo, starring Christie Whelan-Browne, is musical theatre magic with a dash of humour. Browne’s captivating vocals will be accompanied by pianist Joe Chindamo and virtuoso violinist Zoë Black, which equals a night of song, music, and theatre.

If you like… Irish poets, Paul Kelly, Camille O’Sullivan, the word “chanteuse”
We recommend: Ancient Rain
Because: iconic Aussie singer-songwriter Paul Kelly is teaming up with Irish-French vocalist Camille O’Sullivan for musical theatre inspired by the great Irish poets. Combining spoken word with powerful compositions in an intimately theatrical setting, this is promising to be an unforgettable night.

Blog770px - Ancient Rain_5_Camille OSullivan and Paul Kelly_credit David James McCarthy

If you like… kamikaze cabaret, Her Majesty’s Theatre, to be both inspired and slightly terrified
We recommend: Meow Meow
Because: Neither Grand Dame needs an introduction – Meow Meow, sultry diva, cabaret legend, is set to meet the Grand Old Lady of Grote Street in this tribute to the 104-year-old theatre before it undergoes a $35 million upgrade. An exclusive one-off event, get set to visit the ghosts of Adelaide theatre past with a one-of-a-kind performer.

Blog770px - Meow Meow Souvenir_photo by Claudio Raschella, graphic design by Karl Giant

If you like… free stuff
We recommend: Songwriters series
Because: free stuff. This is an invaluable chance to go behind the scenes and hear from some of the creative minds at this years’ Festival. Co-artistic Director Eddie Perfect will discuss their work, their creative process, and drop some serious inspiration along the way – all in a relaxed Saturday afternoon session.

If you like… eating. Drinking. Mingling. All at once.
We recommend: The Wintergarden on the river deck will feature pop up eateries, coffee, and drinks – AKA the perfect spot for a pre or post-show catch up.

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Want more? Check out the full program here.

Top image credit: Claudio Raschella