Adelaide Cabaret Festival – Variety Gala Performance

Over the years, the opening of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival has become somewhat of an event.  Everyone gets dressed up (donning the traditional black with an accent of red), we sip champagne (Moët Chandon this year if you don’t mind!), we walk the red carpet (complete with paparazzi) and we see what is in store for this year’s festival at the Variety Gala Performance.

The Gala is a tasting plate if you like… an appetiser for what’s in store.  It’s a great event to discover an unknown performance or reassure yourself that the money you shelled out to see someone will be well worth it.

This year’s event was hosted by the beautiful Kate Ceberano (Artistic Director) and the cheeky and adopted son of Adelaide, Mark “Nadelaide” Nadler. What I find fascinating is the fact that this event sells out… even when ticket buyers don’t actually know who is in the lineup!  2012 ticket buyers had nothing to fear. Featuring the big names in Eden Espinosa (whipping out a bit of ‘Defying Gravity’), Debra Byrne, Angela Harding, Kim Smith, Eddie Perfect, Justin Burford, Zoë Keating, Lea Salonga and friends, it was certainly a star-studded night.

A surprise appearance from Mary Wilson (yes, an original Supreme) would have made every ticket holder grateful to be alive.  Other highlights would have to be Lea Salonga’s stunning rendition of ‘Greatest Love of All’, the frenetic and fabulous boys of Boylesque and the charming Angela Harding.

While the 90 minute event was packed with star power and über talent, the production values were a bit lacking. Clunky scene changes and a feeling of last-minute chaos left us with the impression this varied cast of superstars had little to no rehearsal together. There’s no denying the warmth and charm of Nadler and Ceberano as hosts, but their banter was uncertain and difficult to follow. The staging had an amateur feel despite the beautiful simplicity of the lighting and setup. With ticket prices what they were, one might expect a higher standard on the production side of things… but where the running sheet was lacking, the talent more than made up for any failings.

Our appetite is whet… bring on Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2012. It’s going to be an intriguing year!

The 2012 Adelaide Cabaret Festival runs until 23 June.  Full details can be found at

Hayley Horton

Hayley was an arts worker in South Australia for twelve years working freelance for small to medium clients as well as for companies such as the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, State Theatre Company SA, Urban Myth Theatre of Youth and the Australia Business Arts Foundation. As part of her freelance work, Hayley founded the ATG Curtain Call Awards (which is now an annual gala event), co-produced three 24 Hour Show charity fundraiser events, has judged for the Adelaide Fringe Festival and reviewed for Aussie Theatre and the Adelaide Theatre Guide. Hayley now runs a boutique events and arts management business, Footlight Events and in her spare time, is involved with Adelaide’s amateur theatre community as a producer, performer and director.

Hayley Horton

One thought on “Adelaide Cabaret Festival – Variety Gala Performance

  • Hi Hayley, Agree absolutely with your review – mine in InDaily makes the same points about the hosting. The banter was cringe-makingly bad! Cheers, Diana Carroll.


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