10 shows with French links at Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022 starts in a month and we’re excited about the program which has plenty of French links. The Artistic Director for 2022 is Australian Francophile, Tina Arena who has curated an enticing program. Read on to discover the 10 shows with French links.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022


Louise Blackwell – Love on the Left Bank

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022 - Louise Blackwell
Image: Claudio Raschella


FRENCH LINK: A celebration of a French singer Juliette Gréco by Adelaide’s favourite singer of French chanson, Louise Blackwell. This is the Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022 show with the strongest French link.

Celebrated actress and singer, Louise Blackwell, brings to life the story of French singer, Juliette Gréco. Set in post-war Paris, Blackwell performs songs which evoke the joy and revelry of liberation from German occupation as it occurred in the legendary underground clubs of Saint Germain des Prés, in this remarkable reimagining of Gréco’s extraordinary life.


At the age of 16, after weeks of brutality and Imprisonment by the Nazi regime, Gréco found refuge in this bohemian quarter and was adopted by a spectacular community of artists, writers and philosophers who encouraged her to become a singer. Gréco embodied the spirit of rebellion and freedom and is still known today as the muse of Saint Germain des Prés.


Songs my mother taught me

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022 Artistic Director Tina Arena
Image: Jai Vasicek



Tina Arena who has spent much of the last decade living in France, has released several French language albums and has been awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite

Wendy Matthews, is Australian-Canadian born in French speaking in Quebec – listen to her French version of On the Day you went away – it will transport you

Tina Arena stars alongside musical luminaries Wendy Matthews, Lior, Thando, Jess Hitchcock and Sophie Koh in an intimate evening of song and storytelling shaped by families and linked generations. This is a unique night of vibrant performance, heartfelt story, musical tradition and shared experience. Don’t miss this exclusive, world premiere performance celebrating culture and legacy.


With arrangements inspired by family, and culminating in a moving performance by Arena herself – join us in celebrating the good, the funny, and the real.


Victoria Falconer – And there you go – The Vali Myers Project

Image: Liz Ham


A Frank Ford Commission

FRENCH LINK: Vali Myers travelled to post-war Paris in 1949 to purse a dance career but found herself homeless living in Saint Germain des Pres instead. She features heavily in a photographical book called Love on the Left Bank (note the show of the same name also in the Adelaide Cabaret Festival program that we mentioned above) by Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken.

Vali Myers. The flame-haired bohemian. The wild dancer. The visionary artist. The hermit witch, tattooing her own face. Driven by a relentless creative spirit, Myers defied all social constructs to live on her own terms.


Cabaret, circus, dance, and theatre combine as an ensemble of incredible multi-disciplinary performers and musicians retell the story of one of history’s most infamous cult figures,


And Then You Go takes us from the jazz clubs of 50s Paris to the hallways of the Chelsea Hotel in the 70s, and the studio-squats of 90s Melbourne. Created by award-winning artist Victoria Falconer, this is a flamboyant, visceral show full of bold original songs, with Myers’ remarkable life as inspiration.


Meow Meow’s Pandemonium with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022 - Meow Meow
Image: Prudence Upton


FRENCH LINK: Meow Meow specialises in French chanson among others

International siren and comedienne extraordinaire Meow Meow is accompanied by the full force of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas Buc, for a glorious performance of subversive and sublime entertainment and joyful orchestrated chaos.


Join the queen of song for an unforgettable evening of music and mayhem. Meow Meow’s Pandemonium is bursting with Piazzolla tangos, Weill, Brecht, and even Radiohead – alongside original chansons by Meow Meow, Iain Grandage, and Thomas M Lauderdale of Pink Martini.


Oliver Twist – Jali

Image: Tom Gilligan

THREE SHOWS: 23, 24 & 25 JUNE

FRENCH LINK: Oliver Twist comes from Rwanda, where French is spoken, among other languages

Refusing to be defined by a turbulent past, comedian and performer Oliver Twist reflects on his time as a refugee while carefully unpacking his present-day experiences. Delicately told and impossible to forget, his one-person show proves that exceptional storytelling and belly-aching laughter are powerful antidotes to trauma. 


Moving from Rwanda to Brisbane in 2014, Twist is one of Australia’s most exciting young comedians. A RAW national finalist, he has opened for Wil Anderson and Becky Lucas, and performed alongside the likes of Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish. A sharp-witted storyteller, Twist is an electrifying, one-of-a-kind young talent. Jali is a vibrant journey that patiently demonstrates there is light at the end of the tunnel. 


A Slightly Isolated Dog – Don Juan

Image: Andi Crown

THREE SHOWS: 10, 11 and 12 JUNE

FRENCH LINK: The performers are all pretending to be French in this version of Don Juan

Also, Don Juan was co-created by Philippe who studied at the Ecole Philippe Gaulier in Étampes, France

Don Juan is the boldest and greatest of men, seducing, fighting, and charming his way through life. He does whatever he likes, and to hell with the consequences – when was the last time we approached the art of seduction so boldly?


Revel in the ludicrously sexy tale of the original master of seduction, as a gaggle of “French” performers bring together brilliant physical comedy, twisted pop songs, and explosive wit to create a hilarious and irreverent show, directed by the award-winning Leo Gene Peters.


Imogen Kelly – La Grande Folie

Image: Leslie Liu


FRENCH LINIK: A Marie Antoinette inspired act called “Let them Eat Cake!”.

Imogen Kelly, Australia’s Queen of Burlesque performs her show stopping, jaw dropping, award winning acts from the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. Whether swinging from a chandelier, dancing in feathers in the jungle, or taking you to the moon and back, Kelly is mesmerising. Journey through Kelly’s most fabulous acts, performed together for the first time, including her sumptuous, world-famous “Let them Eat Cake!”.


Hayden Tee – Bad Guy

Image: Kurt Sneddon


FRENCH LINK: Singing French villain Javert (Les Misérables)

Spend a wicked night with one of Broadway and the West End’s brightest stars, Hayden Tee (Ngāti Kahungunu), in this showstopping musical flirtation with the devil.


With exquisite live accompaniment, Hayden twists and turns, peeling back the layers from some of musical theatre’s most loathsome, from universally renowned villains Miss Trunchbull (Matilda) to Javert (Les Misérables).


Experience an unforgettable musical deep dive into the bad guys of fiction, as Hayden shares his own journey of lifting the colonial cloak of shame and proudly embracing his own Takatāpui identity.


Cirque Bon Bon

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022 - Cirque Bon Bon
Image: Disclose Media


FRENCH LINK: The show’s host Mario speaks French fluently and the producer of the show lived in France for 2 years and has a lot of time in Montreal

Cirque Bon Bon fuses mind-bending contortion, aerial artistry, incredible dancers, and death-defying acrobatic feats jam packed into one night of playful wonder. From Broadway to the West End, Las Vegas to Cirque Du Soleil, Cirque Bon Bon is the best of the best – hosted by world renowned comedy emcee: Mario, Queen of the Circus!


Amelia Ryan, Michaela Burger and Michael Griffiths – Simply Brill – The Women who defined rock n roll

Simply Brill - Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022
Image: Claudio Raschella


FRENCH LINK: Michaela Burger speaks fluent French and wrote and performed in a successful show about Edith Piaf, Exposing Piaf

Join a stellar cast of Adelaide’s acclaimed cabaret artists, as they celebrate the golden age of rock’n’roll, sexual revolution, and the leaps and bounds of women’s liberation. In a time when men were the producers, promoters, and piano players – women weren’t given a place, so they made one for themselves.


Number 1619 Broadway – the ‘Brill Building’- was the heart of New York’s music scene in the 1960s. It housed some of history’s most prolific female songwriters, including the magnificent Carole King, Cynthia Weil, and Ellie Greenwich. With hits such as ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow?’, ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’, and ‘Leader of the Pack’, their songs gave voice to an entire generation.



WHAT: Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022

WHEN: 10 – 25 June 2022

WHERE: Adelaide Festival Centre venues

HOW: Purchase your tickets via the event links above

HOW MUCH: Prices vary depending on the event.


Which shows are you looking forward to seeing at Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022?


For other events with French links, take a look at our article What’s on in May



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Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022

Under the Paris Sky: music, laughs and dinner!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Under The Paris Sky is a cabaret show with dinner and one of our recommended Adelaide Fringe shows.


We interviewed Georgia, one of the show’s creators.

Georgia, you, and Louise Lawson, are bringing your show Under the Paris Sky – Dinner & Show to the Adelaide Fringe for two performances in Thebarton in February. Tell us about the show.

The show is a celebration of well-loved French chanson/song. You’ll hear familiar tunes such as the sublimely beautiful “La Vie en Rose” and a powerfully moving rendition of “Non, je ne regrette rien”, two signature tunes of the great Edith Piaf, but also songs by the wonderful contemporary artist Zaz who is making an international name for herself writing great songs with knee-slapping rhythms and sublime lyrics that will uplift the world.


Georgia’s voice, especially when singing French, is sensuous and connected. She says she discovered her lips and her tongue when she started learning the French language and that is obvious during her songs as she executes the language with sensuous precision. She is resplendent in costume, with a glittering 3 x Eiffel Towers tiara reaching skyward from her own crown she has been described as “glittering” and a “powerhouse” performer by reviewers. Guests won’t need to understand French to love this show.  It is crafted so that each song is illuminated creatively so that English speakers have a nuance at least of what each song is about and can be swept up in the mood of it. This is done using techniques such as substituting an English verse or chorus, introducing a song with English poetry or just chatting about life or a telling a story which then leads directly into a song that embraces the same sense. Georgia’s wife Louise adds hilarious comedy to this show (see below).



The event is packaged with a 2-course French meal so you can have a whole French experience. Guests will order from a choice of dishes of home-style cooking by caterers and venue owners Sue and Sarah Gallpen. They will enjoy the main course before the show and have dessert afterwards. Guests can purchase a CD of the songs in the show which has recently been studio-recorded and mastered by Louise’s son Liam sound engineer extraordinaire whose company Pareidroolia is doing great things too. So all in all, guests will enjoy a lovely soirée (Fri) or matinée (Sat).


Do you both have French backgrounds?

Neither of us have French backgrounds in terms of ancestry but I have been a keen student and lover of French since high school. I think I may have been French in a past life! Louise did a French maid impersonation for me for….personal reasons, at which point I announced that the character would join me on stage as she was too funny not to share.


You’ve been creating cabaret shows for the last 6 years. Tell us how that came about. How did you meet? Do you both have theatrical/music backgrounds or training?

Louise is my wife.  We met, accidentally, online on a recipe-exchange site.  We were looking for a recipe not a relationship! I was living in Melbourne at the time and so for two years we had a long-distance relationship, flying interstate to be together every couple of months. It was sweet torture. Louise has a solid grounding in folk music with a special love of Australian bush stories and songs which she plays on her guitar, though not in this show. She has done short stints in bush bands too.


I was born theatrical. I was singing and dancing at 5, but did not follow my passion into adulthood and so ended up in the corporate world after finishing a computer science degree – WTF?! I’ve done some amateur theatre (including Les Misérables) but once I came to Adelaide in 2012, met and learned from wonderful mentors like Matthew Carey, Sidonie Henbest and Catherine Campbell, I discovered Cabaret, though as Matthew once said “Georgia thinks she’s discovered Cabaret, but Cabaret has always known Georgia


What artists can we expect to hear covered by you at Under the Paris Sky?

You will hear the songs of Edith Piaf, Zaz, Charles Trenet, Rupa and the April Fishes, Pink Martini and Jaques Brel. I am very excited in particular to include a number of Zaz’s  songs in the show because she is a fantastic contemporary song writer and I believe her music and lyrics are responsible for some of the most joyful and uplifting moments shared by people, particularly in Europe and as such are contributing to the change we need to see in the human world.  My hope is that I can be a conduit for her music to become popular in Australia, via my soon-to-be-released CD.


Tell us more about the comical characters

A fabulous part of this show is the unexpected comedy element. Character Julienne Carrotte makes an appearance after her cheating husband has left her for his secretary. A lady of leisure, Julienne couldn’t slice a vegetable if she tried. She blubbers her way through a wine-fueled, parodic rendition of “no regrets” that leaves us with no doubt as to how she is feeling about the treacherous couple. Well-loved French maid Cécile is there to “help”.  Georgia found her on the Internet and things have gone downhill ever since. Georgia hasn’t yet realized that Cécile is only interested in helping Cécile and that the disappearance of her jewelry and the chaos that has been her life ever since, is all due to this infamous maid (who we suspect is not a real maid and is not actually French!). Cecile has become a bit of a “cult” character around Adelaide in that people usually check whether Cecile is in the show before they buy tickets!. It seems Georgia may be stuck with Cecile, as her Aussie alter-ego says, “like shit to a blanket”.


Who is this show for?

This show is for people who love French songs but may have felt a little bit shy about going to French events because they don’t speak or understand the language. It is also for French-speaking people who miss hearing their beautiful native language whilst living in or visiting Australia. It is for those who love sophisticated Cabaret yet  doesn’t take itself too seriously.


Have you performed this show to French audiences before and if so, what did they think of it? Will the French appreciate Under the Paris Sky too?

I have performed some of the songs in this show to French audiences at Alliance Francaise events such as the opening of their French film festival and at the annual French market. They enjoyed my voice and the passion with which I interpreted each piece. They appreciated that I pronounce their language with little if any accent and some have even presumed I am une Francaise! – a French woman!


The ticket price includes home-cooked style dinner, main and dessert; vegetarian and GF catered for. Is the meal going to have a French focus? What is on the menu?


Yes, the meal will be French-style cuisine though the caterers will not finalise the menu until closer to the event to take into account variables like weather, numbers and whether I leave them any chocolate mousse for the guests.


Why should people come to see Under the Paris Sky?

If you love the sensuality of the French language sung to fabulous rhythms and sublime melodies then you should come to this show. It’s the whole experience because you don’t have to work out where to dine beforehand…just come and eat, drink and enjoy Georgia’s soaring voice, Simon Walter’s extraordinary piano playing and  Louise Lawson’s hilarious comedy. You don’t have to come to the CBD, we’re in Thebarton so it’s easy access. Guests can be assured of a fabulous evening!


Under the Paris Sky will only have two shows: Friday 22nd February evening and Saturday 23rd February matinée. Tickets are available here.

Don’t forget you can also read our full list of recommended shows here.