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Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2024: A Celebration of Artistic Diversity and Community

by CiCi
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Now in its 24th year, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival continues to illuminate the wintry Adelaide nights with its vibrant celebration of cabaret. Under the artistic direction of Virginia Gay, this year’s festival showcased a dazzling array of performances that exemplify the versatility of the cabaret genre.

Cabaret, often described as a magpie artform for its ability to integrate various performance styles, was celebrated in full force. Highlights included Gillian Cosgriff’s “Actually, Good,” a captivating blend of musical comedy and introspective storytelling that engaged the audience in crafting a unique experience each night. Similarly, the legendary Fascinating Aida returned after four decades with their sharp British humor and enduring charm, proving their mastery of the genre.

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The festival also pushed artistic boundaries with immersive experiences like A Slightly Isolated Dog’s inventive retelling of Jekyll & Hyde, which immersed the audience in anarchic theatricality and audience interaction. Indigenous singer Jess Hitchcock’s performance in “A Fine Romance” stood out for its emotional depth and intimate connection with the audience, while Michelle Pearson’s “Skinny” offered a poignant exploration of body image and personal empowerment.

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Comic relief came courtesy of Flo & Joan’s razor-sharp wit in “Now Playing,” and the improvisational talents of Musical Bang Bang, showcasing the festival’s dynamic range from satire to musical spontaneity.

Closing the festival on a high note was Lisa Simone’s tribute to her mother, Nina Simone, delivering a powerhouse performance that resonated with the audience’s emotions and musical sensibilities.

Throughout, artistic director Virginia Gay embodied the spirit of community and connection, engaging with audiences both on and off stage, from impromptu musical performances to heartfelt interactions in the piano bar.

The Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2024 not only entertained but also fostered a sense of belonging and shared experience among its diverse audience, reaffirming cabaret’s enduring appeal as a medium that bridges artists and spectators in celebration of artistic expression and human connection.

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