Wednesday, 12 January 2011

In a cluster of cabarets - Midsumma 2011

Midsumma Festival
From January 16, 2011
Preview by Kate Herbert
Jan 12, 2011

If you love cabaret, then the 2011 Midsumma Festival probably has a gem cut just to your liking. Although the festival boasts over 150 events ranging across art forms, the performing arts, cabaret and music theatre programme is particularly impressive.

Midsumma is Melbourne's celebration of queer arts and culture, and its shows feature renowned Australian and international artists who work in mainstream arts.

The Premier Events programme includes a return season of Prodigal, the Green Room award-winning musical written by celebrated, local musical duo, Dean Bryant and Mathew Frank. Prodigal premiered during Midsumma 11 years ago then ran on Broadway two years later, becoming the first Australian musical ever produced in New York City. It is the story of a family struggling to reconcile the golden boy who ran away to Sydney, with the changed prodigal son who returns to them. Its cast features some leading musical theatre performers.

If you loved the talented Trevor Ashley as Edna Turnblad, the blousy mum in the wildly successful musical Hairspray, you’ll be thrilled by his cabaret Liza (On an E), in which he channels Liza Minelli. Another gang of professional, Australian music theatre artists, the cast of the quirky, hit musical, [title of show], tell their own stories in a funny and moving concert.

The Blue Show is a daring, new and adult offering from Circus Oz, showcasing sexy, muscled bodies and unbridled circus talent. This is the first production in the new, century-old Circus Oz Melba Spiegeltent. Another sassy, acrobatic show, Ladies Prefer Brunettes by The Cadettes and Women’s Circus, interrogates the nature of societal images of women.

If you want wigs, retro costumes, big band and hit tunes from the 30s to the 90s, Luke Gallagher and Dolly Diamond’s comedy cabaret, Getting Down and Brassy, is for you. Their repertoire include classics ranging from Frank Sinatra, Eurythmics, Thelma Houston, Kylie Minogue, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and Michael BublĂ©.

An international show from Canada, The Book of Spells – A Love Story, is based on two tales of magic realism by British writer Sara Maitland.

The venues include: Northcote Town Hall, the tiny, eccentric Butterfly Club, Gasworks Art Park, 45downstairs theatre, Hares and Hyenas book shop and Kaye Sera’s Bizarre Piano Lounge and many more. There should be something on your side of town.

Midsumma opens on 16 January with Carnival at Birrarung Marr and runs until February 6. Check the programme at:

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