The Adelaide Cabaret Festival's 2013 Variety Gala Performance

Kate Ceberano rolled out the red carpet and South Australians felt the love at last night’s Variety Gala Performance of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Kate Ceberano, artistic director of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Kate Ceberano, artistic director of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival

A galactic array of local, national and international performers strutted the stage in styles ranging from emotionally delicate to fabulous arrogance.

Short performances from over a dozen entertainers in 90 minutes gave the capacity audience in the Adelaide Festival Theatre a broad taste of the popular 2013 Programme with ticket sales already up significantly on last year’s record turn-out.

Engaging as the host for this star studded event, Craig McLachlan entertained the audience between performers with everything from sexual innuendo to guitar hero antics. The format of having an independent host as professional as McLachlan is a clear winner.

Every performance was met enthusiastically, although some were more enthusiastic than others. Molly Ringwald, Kristin Chenoweth and Matt Gilbertson received booming applause. Many of the performers engaged the crowd and successfully encouraged audience participation with lots of singing along, leaving many patrons with a very real sense of joy and warmth on a notoriously cold Adelaide winter evening.

Joey Arias was first cab off the rank with a look and a dress reminiscent of Morticia Addams and a voice that seemed croaky at first before breaking out into gothic charm about half way through the number.

Molly Ringwald. Image supplied.
Molly Ringwald. Image supplied.

Molly Ringwald in long silver dress gave a jazzy interpretation of Simple Minds’ Don’t You (forget about me). Ringwald took the song down to a slow hypnotic pace before breaking through with the audience “la-la”-ing along.

Barb Jungr gave an incongruously effective smiling and happy rendition of Leonard Cohen’s sombre Everybody Knows before finishing it with a Las Vegas style crescendo.

Emma Hamilton (complete with squeeze box and French language song), Catherine Alcorn (in a very fetching red dress) and Darren Percival all brought out the love in the room before Mojo Juju performed a gentle and explosive blues number, which quite simply captivated the entire audience.

The Adelaide Art Orchestra performed superbly throughout the evening while Amelia Ryan (the storm in a D cup) drew numerous laughs and Bradley McCaw simply drew in the audience with his set. Matt Gilbertson as Hans had the whole room in his hands and on its feet with an energetic performance in hot pants and feathers. Tommy Bradson cuts a waif-like figure and delivered an engrossing 1970s David Bowie-esque presentation complete with sad clown make-up.

Ali McGregor impressed, as did Miles and Simone. Host McLachlan almost upstaged Hans with a performance of ‘Sweet Transvestite’ from The Rocky Horror Show – he certainly knows how to move in a pair of sparkling red stilettos and he does have better legs than Gilbertson.

Kristin Chenoweth
Kristin Chenoweth

Kristin Chenoweth stunned the audience with a showcasing of her broad vocal talents. Chenoweth enjoys perfect control of a huge voice that comes out of her tiny frame and her big personality.

The show ended with a number from Ceberano, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and McLachlan before most of the performers joined them on stage for a final hoorah. The Variety Gala Performance has built itself up to the high standards and great expectations of a genuine ‘event’ that you’d be mad to miss!

The live performances continued on into the early hours in the Piano Bar and The Backstage Club as they will during the Festival proper.

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