Sydney Festival continues this week: French and francophone shows you must see!

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Sydney Festival is into its second week. There are a number of shows across the city and Parramatta. Below, we tell you which shows have a French/francophone bent that we suggest you get along to see.



8-27 January (except Mondays)

A nod to the once glamorous Parisian neighbourhood of Pigalle, you’ll be entertained by music, muscles, burlesque, circus and discotheque with a 70s soundtrack.


Marcia Hines leads the cast which features cabaret legend iOTA, British Burlesque star Kitty BangBang and Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Waangenga Blanco.



Tickets cost between $63 and $86 plus booking fee. There’s also a reduced price for the under 30s for Tuesday to Thursday shows – tickets are $39 plus booking fee.


Shànghăi Mimi 

10 – 20 January

Dress to the nines and immerse yourself in the intoxicating world of Shànghăi Mimi , a sumptuous cabaret of delights.


Inspired by 1930s Shanghai, a city famous for its flamboyant clubs and heady nights, Shànghăi Mimi parts the curtains on an enchanted world.



Directed by internationally acclaimed performer and director Moira Finucane, whose ground-breaking cabarets enrapture audiences from Beijing to Berlin, the performance stars Qinghai Acrobatic Troupe from beyond the Gobi desert and a hotshot live band playing long-lost vintage Chinese jazz and blues unearthed in a condemned Mumbai warehouse.


Meanwhile, dancers, acrobats, aerialists and singers from China, Cameroon, Australia and France give thrilling performances: flying overhead, dazzling your eyes and winning your hearts.


Tickets cost between $36 and $66 plus booking fee.


Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story

12-22 January

A play from Canada’s 2b theatre company, which explores identity and citizenship. It is inspired by the story of Hannah Moscovitch, the playwright’s own great-grandparents who emigrated to Canada. It’s no ordinary play though with a heavy music focus provided by songs written by director Christian Barry and performer and musician Ben Caplan who played at Sydney Festival in 2014.  


Read our interview with Ben Caplan here.



NB Book your ticket for Wed 16 January at 7.30pm to take part in a Sydney Morning Herald Q&A with the Artists after the performance.


Tickets cost $60 to $66 plus booking fee however if you’re under 30 there are $39 tickets available for performances Tuesday through to Thursday.



18 January

With emotive, fragile vocals reminiscent of Anohni and Perfume Genius, and a charismatic presence that channels Grace Jones via Prince, Nakhane’s sultry synth-pop delivers revealing lyrics about identity, queerness and religion, with powerful androgynous sexuality.



After years working Johannesburg venues as an acoustic singer-songwriter, Nakhane’s club hit We Dance Again with top South African DJ Black Coffee led him to embrace glamorous electro-pop with sweeping strings and African mbira percussion. This South African is on a fast-track to glam-pop superstardom.


Les Filles de Illighadad

19 January

Niger’s only women-led band, Les Filles de Illighadad play Tuareg guitar folk, which is traditionally played by men. They reinterpret the traditional women’s music of the region, known as tende, and reinterpret it with a Western-rock influence.



Tickets cost $39 plus booking fee. This show is currently sold out but there is a waitlist available.


Mulatu Astatke & The Black Jesus Experience

22 January

Ethiopia’s grandfather of jazz, Mulatu Astatke is joined by Melbourne 8 piece The Black Jesus Experience in this one-off Sydney Festival show.


Mulatu Astatke’s career has spanned five decades and the 74 year old shows no sign of slowing down as he switches between vibraphone, vintage keyboards, congas and timbales, laying down laid-back, joyous improvised grooves.



Mulatu Astatke’s distinct sound is its own breed of rhythm and groove which featured in the soundtrack for Jim Jarmusch’s “Broken Flowers”.


This event is currently sold out and the waitlist is full but if you find a way to get your hands on a ticket: go!


Le Gateau Chocolat 

23 – 27 January

Cabaret sensation Le Gateau Chocolat’s international smash-hit is a joyous and moving celebration of the musical heroes, moments and relationships that shaped his life and inspired his dreams.



The beautiful, bearded baritone delivers show-stopping renditions of Whitney Houston, David Bowie, Pavarotti, Madonna and Meat Loaf between stories about growing up gay in Nigeria, being bullied, religion, finding love and losing a loved one.


Live from a teenage bedroom furnished with pop-star posters, hairbrush microphone and wind machine, Le Gateau moves between his public and private personas, charting how the universality of music – pop, opera and rock – connects with a British-born Nigerian boy’s own objects of worship.


There will be performed every nigh from 23 to 27 January. Tickets cost between $60 and $70 plus booking fees. There are also $39 plus booking fees for under 30s.


Which shows are you going to see at Sydney Festival?

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