Production photography by Sylvi Soe, and displayed in performance order.
The Short + Sweet Cabaret Gala Final took place last Sunday evening at the swish inner city cabaret venue, the Slide. in front of a huge sold-out audience. Master of ceremonies Mr. Cruelo de Vil (Brendan Hay) cleverly entertained between acts.
- (1) Diamonds Last Forever – Debbie Neilson is magnificent as Marilyn Monroe, and Luke Reeves is the spy, James Bond 007. Yes Debbie speaks exactly like, and sounds exactly like MM as she sings “Diamonds Are Forever” wearing a beautiful red and diamonds gown. Debonaire spy arrives and dances to the music of the “James Bond Theme”. However they are both on secret missions to kill each other. Debbie dances and sings “My Heart Belongs To Daddy”, “Everyone Talks” and “I’m Through With Love”. Clever storyline, beautifully paced and in a unexpected surprise twist, MM gets her man. Delicious audience favourite.
- (2) Fangirl – Now wearing a beautiful blue tardis gown, Alexandra Chambers is super fangirl Stephanie Sparkle and sings her unique stalker story via familiar tunes with comic lyrics. She takes a deep and meaningful look inside Fangirls Anonymous (FA) where she is in the process of recovering from her stalking obsession for Jenna Coleman (Clara - the companion on TVs Doctor Who). Featuring ‘Girl Crush’ and ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’ with the performance generating lots of laughs from the clever story and lyrics. Guitarist: David Macaulay.
- (3) Dear Diary – Anna Canillas, at the age of thirty, re-discovered her deliberately long forgotten 1997 Catholic high school diary. Using imaginative song lyrics, with humour passion and warmth, she detailed in song the diary contents, all about friends, being in and out of love, and many many things that needed to be forgotten. She dedicated her fresh version of lyrics for “Nine the Musical – A Call From the Vatican” and “Willy Wonka – Pure Imagination” to her long lost crush Dylan Andrews. Accompanist: Dave Collins on the piano.
- (4) Cardistry – Lucas Itrawan and Ash Hodgkinson are DOUBLE TROUBLE as the two boys from “Cardistry” and are just fourteen years old, and already are seasoned professionals on the Australian entertainment circuit. Crowned Australian Junior Magic Champions at the age of twelve, then starred in their own sell-out show at the 2015 Melbourne Magic Festival. Craig a volunteer from the audience, using random colours, hand coloured a gigantic sketch of their black and white JOKER CARD, to which the magicians produced a deck of colour 52 JOKER CARDS that exactly and precisely matched the random colours. Superb magic entertainment. Short+Sweet Magic+Comedy winner of ‘Best Magic Act 2016’.
- (5) Boys Boys Boys – Emma Nicolazo is the woman who freely admits to being an atypical Virgo, and always obtains a unique trophy from each and every new lover, just before she disappears through his front door. All the trials and tribulations of a troubled young woman, constantly looking for a good time with lots and lots of young men. Majestically funny and full of joy, plus wonderful entertaining dialogue and lyrics, all about her multitude of failed relationships. Danny the Cheater, received a dose of her versions of “Who’s That Girl” and “The Language Of Love”. Accompanied on the piano by Matthew Jonathan Ogle. Perhaps you were thinking “serial murderess”, however she just collects insane quantities of t-shirts.
- (6) Being Betty – Julianne Sisinni is a beautifully dressed, very hip 1960s secretary, telling her psychiatrist all about her relationships and her very complicated life in song, from the comfort of a gigantic red-coloured egg-shaped chair. Songs included “Im Hip Not Square”.
- (7) Mrs Rivette’s Wild Night In – delivered a female-fantasy laden comedy burlesque starring Rosanna Nadine Cramer. The programme suggests you should expect to see a whip fetish using “the cat o’ nine tails”. Instead a total of nine fluffy tails have been sewn onto a child’s cute fluffy toy cat. Everything is not quite correct, especially with pearls in the wrong place, and this cute and clever take on female burlesque drew gasps from an appreciative audience, with the denouement gaining lengthy applause.
- (8) Songs for Sarah Connor – Starring Alistair Tomkins as THE TERMINATOR mix-tape cabaret style, with very entertaining new comedy lyrics sung to very familiar music, played on the piano by accompanist Dom Woodhead. With songs from Gershwin to Radiohead, all with new comedy lyrics, laugh-out-loud-funny starring THE TERMINATOR on electric guitar. Singing new versions of “Yesterday” and “There’s Always Tommorrow” and there were those unfortunate deaths of everyone named “Sarah Connor”. This was an audience favourite.
- (9) Tales From The Psyche Ward – Lady Cool sang her new playlist, delivering clever storytelling comedy lyrics direct from her personal Psyche Ward, whilst playing her electric ukulele, generated lots of laughs. With its many superb original songs, we quickly learn about “Dating A Vegan Man”. Her previous show was “Conversations With My Shrink – so many problems so little time”. Lady Cool vividly over-shares, all about her life, love, family, by telling raw honest tales of her psychological battles from the inside of the white walls.
- (10) A Man and his Organ – organ player, Ben Palumbo sang an excellent mash-up of well-remembered french language songs, all whilst playing his accordion. Ben has a classically trained voice, with a unique falsetto extension. Comedy based around the classic French song “Deshabillez Moi” (undress me), and with some help from the audience, and there was unexpected male burlesque, as Ben removed layer upon layer of his clothing, as he talked and sang.
- (11) APPROPRIATELY INAPPROPRIATE – Thao Thanh Cao delivered dry, self-deprecating and female politically incorrect comedy. Vietnamese born, and originally a boat-person, she delivered perfectly paced, a quite unique and very refreshing female based comedy, and easily got away with discussing sensitive issues, without using decorum and tact. All her detailed explanations created constant, laugh out loud comedy, and her methodology included situation based humour. When you see outdoor public sex, just get up close and ask politely “Do you mind if I watch?”. When your dog eats your school homework, eating the dog prevents a repetition. Her parents live with her, and she keeps her elderly parents under her control by asking them “Do you want to visit the Nursing Home?” Short+Sweet Magic+Comedy Winner of ‘Best Comedy Act 2016’.
- (12) Unsung: The Voices of Rita Hayworth – Rita Hayworth from the Bronx to Hollywood, that everyone always remembers as Gilda, lived a full life with passion and many dramas. Hear the complete range of each of the stunning voices of the many ghost singers, who sang in each movie for non-singer Rita Hayworth, the screen goddess with undeniable sex appeal. Singer Melody Beck, accompanied on the piano by Benjamin Burton, performed many of Rita Hayworth’s well remembered songs.
- (13) BIKE - Kay Armstrong in character as BIKE, fabulous cabaret entertainment, Australian Style. Unfortunately she lost her voice, and was unable to perform at the Gala Final.
- (14) Girls On Tap – Stage-filling performance with seven of the best of the best tap dancers performing clever routines with an unexpected fast costume change. This sparkling cast delivered joyful high energy dance routines, which easily won The People’s Choice Award 2016. Cast: Laura Scarfo, Peta Anderson, Siobhan Shibby Parker, Maria Costa, Georgia Shae Anderson, Natasha Window, Sally Hare.
The team of judges had a very difficult task choosing the winners as all the performances had a lot to offer. Here is the published list of winners:-
Best Cabaret Show – Melody Beck in Unsung: The Many Voices of Rita Hayworth
Best Female Performer – Anna Canillas in Dear Diary
Best Male Performer – Ben Palumbo in A Man and his Organ
People’s Choice – Girls On Tap
Professional Encouragement Awards-
Week One – Martin Charles in False Gods
Week Two – Maddison Hegarty
Week Three – Christian Cavallo in Boy Wizard
Week four – Olivia Cianci in Dirty Martini