The Adelaide Cabaret Festival boasts 147 performances, featuring 58 international artists and 372 Australian artists, who will bare their souls (and perhaps a bit of flesh), offer a few world truths (alternative or otherwise), and dazzle and delight audiences of all ages as they turn the tables on all things cabaret.Class Of Cabaret 2016

As always, there’s plenty on offer.

Grand old dame Her Majesty’s Theatre plays host to an Adelaide Cabaret Festival staple, the completely sold-out Variety Performance Gala at 8pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Right before your eyes, Ali McGregor and Eddie Perfect will whisk together this year’s hottest, coolest, spiciest, and sauciest acts. The red carpet will roll out again on Saturday afternoon for attendees of all ages at the Family Gala.


If you’re stuck with your family, those highs and lows are explored by prodigal globetrotting daughter Liz, played by Christie Whelan Browne in Steve Vizard’s volatile new piece Vigil. Meanwhile, cannelloni addicts can rejoice: newly relocated from The Bistro to the Banquet Room due to high demand is the interactive cookery class paired with a smattering of Italian family recipes and tales in Linda Catalano’s One Suitcase, Four Stories. Sobering memories are gently combined with scandalous humour and song in Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs.

Alan Cumming portrait 2

Three powerhouse artists join the fray from USA hot spots San Francisco (virtuoso guitarist Bill Frisell with new interpretations of classic American cinema tracks), New York City (bold, brash and beatifically breasted comedian Bridget Everett), and Los Angeles (honey-smooth jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves). Both Bridget and Dianne make their Adelaide debuts. 

Performances that promise to explore if music really is the food of love include Sarah-Louise Young and Michael Roulston’s delightfully witty Songs For Lovers (and Other Idiots) and one woman musical comedy impresario Gillian Cosgriffs possibly-proposal-inspired To the Moon and Back. Heavenly bodies of a different kind are centre of the display window when the brazen bodies and chiseled chests of Briefs debut their Close Encounters.

Three Mikados - Photo credit James Penlidis

Comedic darlings Colin Lane, David Collins and Amy G ask why have just one Mikado when you can have Three Mikados? But there will only ever be one Carlotta: Queen of the Cross who over the course of 70 minutes of heartfelt songs and beautifully funny stories will condense the best of the past 50 years to prove exactly why she was the real-life inspiration for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

The Backstage Club promises the hottest acts and the most chilled-out tunes, served up in one outrageous arrangement hosted by emcee extraordinaire and Club Swizzle star Murray Hill.

Adelaide Festival Centre is providing a free shuttle bus from Her Majesty’s Theatre to Adelaide Festival Centre (one way only and spaces limited), departing after every evening Her Majesty’s Theatre performance. Audiences are also reminded that the tram can be caught for free from Victoria Square to the Adelaide Railway Station stop, where the cheerily cosy Cabaret Wintergarden is mere steps away.


There are free events aplenty with the return of Songwriter Series, hosted by Eddie Perfect and featuring a top secret line-up of musical theatre and cabaret’s most masterful minds. Art Stories, hosted by Chris Drummond, is where Steve Vizard, Carlotta, Sarah Louise-Young and Fez Faanana will swap stories and discuss the moments that led to their success giving step by step insight into what drives and inspires human creativity.

During the middle week, get up close and personal with your favourite cabaret performers with two special ABC Radio Adelaide events. Peter Goers will conduct a live outdoor broadcast from the Wintergarden on 14 June from 7 – 10pm, whilst on 17 June in the Artspace, Sonya Feldhoff will join a variety of artists onstage for an intimate chat about what truly makes them tick in Cabaret Catch Up from 2 – 4pm.

From 11:30pm every Friday and Saturday night, the Bistro plays home to Late Night DJs, whilst jazz standards and snapping original tunes are served up care of local band The AirBenders in Bands in the Wintergarden. 

Aged between 18 and 30s? Join Adelaide Festival Centre’s Greenroom program for cheap tickets, free workshops and special events.

All tickets, program details and hard copies of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival brochure are available through BASS 131 246 or online.

Photo credit:

#1: Claudio Raschella
#2: Provided
#3: Provided
#4: James Penlidis
#5: Provided

Cover: Claudio Raschella