Classy and provocative solo cabaret show, Petrasexual, comes to magical new venue KaDo next month.
This is performer, Petra Elliott's, first solo cabaret show and after a year of the hugely popular live podcast, Splendid Chaps, as well as successful seasons of many shows in Melbourne including the Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour; Inside Out (La Mama); MICF and Melbourne Fringe shows, Elliott believed it was high time to explore another medium in which she could combine all of the things she loves to do with all of the things that are important to her.
"Petrasexual is way more than just a clever pun on my name. It really reflects the content of the show, a range of themes that are important to me, and that I feel are important to society.
Watching the election result last year, I joked that I wanted to write a concept album about being a woman under the Tony Abbott empire. Originally I considered doing this topic for the show, with Petrasexual as a follow up show. But as I spoke to people about it in the early development stages, I realised I had so much material and people really loved the name Petrasexual."
The show explores issues of marriage equality, women’s rights, and includes personal stories of the journey to find and be ok with Elliott's own special brand of sexuality. Elliott believes everyone’s got one. "And when society accepts everyone’s unique brand of sexuality then we can really progress as a community.”
Elliott describes the show as a combination of personally written stories weaving between her original songs, as well as pop and cabaret songs covered in a new and fresh way relevant to the story – everything from Destiny's Child, to Ruth Wallis, and Mae West. Petrasexual also includes parodies of popular songs reworked to hit the message home. "For e.g. I open the show with a parody of Blurred Lines, instead focusing on enthusiastic consent and the way our society 'blames' victims of sexual crime," explains Elliott. " I've also parodied 'Happy' in support of marriage equality. I guess Pharrell Williams takes a bit of a hit in this show! I've done paradies before (see "Parcel face by Parcel GaGa on Youtube!)"
Elliott consulted her good friend and feminist Ben McKenzie to make the messages in the parodies hit home and were respectful of the groups she was writing in support of.
Another great support was Matt Grant, original owner and creator of the Butterfly Club who was keen for Elliott to do a show for his new cabaret venue KaDo, a warehouse venue in Cremorne St, Richmond. "When I told him I didn't have one, he replied 'write one'. So I did."
"This gave me the opportunity to create a new show – and I breath life into years of ideas. As cabaret has seductive qualities, I think it's the perfect form for my subject matter – songs and stories exploring how our sexuality is viewed in society, and personally, challenging ideas of feminism, equality, and the journey of discovering your own sexuality alongside other people discovering theirs."
Elliott is a trained Actor with a BA in Acting from Charles Sturt University – she has been actively involved with theatre and music for the 14 years since. Everything from musical theatre, to independent theatre, puppetry, improvisation, singing live with DJ's, acoustic duo performances, voiceovers – even a "live nerdy tonight show" about Doctor Who, released as a podcast (Splendid Chaps). In Melbourne Elliott has appeared in three Melbourne Fringe shows (Songs for Europe: 2 short plays about Eurovision; ALARM!; The Magical Oak Tree), MICF shows. She appeared in Catchment Players Godspell and Cabaret, directed a piece in The Vagina Monologues at the National Theatre and was a co-host on the live podcast Splendid Chaps in 2013. So it seemed only natural that the first solo show she produced would be a combination of the styles she's been doing for years.
"For years I have worked in theatre companies, ensembles, and with djs, bands, and music duos. In some ways I felt I didn't have enough to 'make it on my own' – so I think it's important that I 'pop the cherry' on solo performance. In working recently with talented and supportive people I realised I did actually have the skills to create my own show. There also is something to be said for artists creating work for themselves, rather than waiting to be cast in the next big thing. It keeps you busy, and practicing your craft. It can be stressful, being responsible for every aspect of the show, and it is also unbelievably empowering also!"
Elliott is currently also involved in creating Night Terrace, an 8 part, full cast, science fiction audio comedy, from the creative team behind Splendid Chaps following their hugely successful season of a live podcast exploring Doctor Who.
"Night Terrace is a return to the days of radio plays but with the advantages of modern technology," says Elliott. The series is about Anastasia Black, a woman who used to work for a secret organisation called The D.E.P.A.R.T.M.E.N.T. Since retiring from a life of fighting alien invasion and universal mysteries, she's looking forward to her retirement, and is understandably miffed when her terrace house starts inexplicably travelling through space and time, dragging a hapless university student called Eddie (Ben McKenzie) along with her – who just happened to be selling electricity door to door at the time the house shifted. They adventure through planets and worlds, trying to learn how and why the house is time travelling, helped (or hindered) by a mysterious figure known only as "Sue" (Elliott).
The series has an all star acting and writing cast with episodes written by John Richards (ABC's Outland), Lee Zachariah (ABCs The Bazura Project; Hamster Decides) Ben McKenzie (MICF Veteran) and David Ashton (Sample and Hold Studios). It stars Jackie Woodburne (Susan from Neighbours) as the lead, and there are some amazing guest appearances across the season including Alan Brough (Spicks & Specks), Jane Badler (V, Mission Impossible) Adam Richards (Outland; Spicks & Specks) and Toby Truslove (Outland, Laid, The Strange Calls).
Petrasexual promises to appeal to lovers of comedy, theatre, music and cabaret. The show has already been described as ‘brilliant!’. Elliott has worked hard to create a meaningful and engaging work.
"I would really love for people to experience Petrasexual, to consider how we as a society view sexuality, gender, equality, and personal preferences. Also KaDo as a new venue is simply magical. It's current season of new and emerging works is not to be missed. Drop by the KaDo Kafe during the day, stop by for a drink at night – see a show. It's a truly unique experience, and I'd love to think that by coming to see Petrasexual you could also be experiencing your 'first time' at KaDo."
Petrasexual is a one woman cabaret, supported by the amazing Adam Rudegeair on piano and Oscar Neyland on double bass.
Petrasexual plays at 8pm, every Friday in April, at KaDo Warehouse (36 Cremorne Street Richmond)