Melbourne Art Centre’s Hamer Hall hosted a spectacular collective of LGBTQIA+ comics, drag superstars, jazz icons, singers, dancers and more.
The sold out Midsumma Extravaganza kicked off with pre-event drinks and dance on the red carpet. DJ Lady Rose span infectious beats and captivating queens, Missy La’Minx and Amena Jay Alura, invited everyone to celebrate diversity.
The variety show continued the ‘red carpet vibes’ beginning with dynamic ‘doof-doof’ tunes and the hot YUMMY transgender+ dancers. Rhys Nicolson presided over the two-hour extravaganza.
There was a brief moment to recover from Rhys Nicolson’s razor-sharp wit before he introduced singer Sheldon Riley’s (The Voice) heart-rending interpretation of “Creep” and experiencing his extraordinary falsetto.
The extravaganza turned to the cheeky styling’s of indigenous comic/actor/singer Steven Oliver (Black Comedy) and his take on more recent events; ‘Australia Day’. His humanitarian humour touched on the satirical side of minority and humanity.
All mouths were already curved into fixed smiles when the stand out comic, Geraldine Hickey, made jaws ache from laughing so hard. Any arachnophobes in the audience couldn’t help cringe and laugh aloud as she described her naked entanglement with a huntsman spider on a vulnerable part of her anatomy.
Next, the brilliant pianist and conductor, Jamie Burgess, instructed the magnificent 9-piece music ensemble to accompany the dynamic duo Beccy Cole and Libby O’Donovan.
The recently married country music singer and cabaret artist performed a quirky mish-mash of call and response songs over the top of each other. They sang country tracks like Dolly Parton’s “9-5” and belted out power ballads and every queen or princesses favourite, Walt Disney’s “Frozen”.
An extravaganza is not complete without a Diva or two and the iconic Carlotta graced the Hamer Hall stage. The seventy-five years young, transgender Diva performed her familiar brand of stand-up, cabaret storytelling that still resonates with every generation.
In her infamous blonde wig, she wore a black feather boa draped over a sequined black gown—in a self-confessed body as old and wide as a “Kelvinator Fridge”. She reminisced a career of cabaret, television, and stage, spanning over fifty years.
After a mild flirtation with pianist Jamie Burgess, she summed up with a classic Shirley Bassey song “I’m Still Here”.
After a short interval, comic Zoe Coombs Marr opened the second half of the extravaganza with her perceptive pot shots surrounding the misconceptions of lesbian and gay lifestyles. She received a warm round of applause regarding “minority mocking” and “straight” habits.
Hamer Hall was transformed into an elaborate jazz bar as songstress Mamma Alto’s sophisticated vocal range was accompanied by the band’s collective of horns, bass, guitar and grand piano.
BFF’s were united on stage as Rhys Nicolson introduced the infamous Joel Creasey. These days the comedian/actor/presenter career is taking him to unexpected “high places”. We learn of his riotous dealings with celebrities Cher and Megan Markle.
Trevor Ashley “International Queen of cabaret closed the queer event of the year. The Hamer Hall roof quivered and almost lifted in response to the drag artist’s vocal resonance.
Post show, DJ Lady Rose pumped up the tunes and the party continued on the red carpet. This is not just a variety show, it is a Comedy Extravaganza of gifted insightful artists deserving of such a prestigious venue.