Follow Us/Subscribe
Contact Us
Journal Index
« Barb Jungr named Best Cabaret Act of 2011 by Time Out New York | Main | All I Want for Christmas...a Cabaret Gift Guide »

Queer musicians join forces to present a month of fabulous cabaret

Creative producers, blackcat productions, have programmed an explosive season of cabaret for the Sydney Mardi Gras 2012, with four fabulous weeks of queer tunes, tales and talent at the Sidetrack Theatre in Marrickville: blackcat lounge: a season of queer cabaret.

blackcat lounge isn’t drag and it ain’t burlesque. It’s playful, concept-driven, gutsy live music, performed by some of Sydney’s best queer musicians and their collaborators.

“It wasn’t enough for us to just play a couple of gigs for Mardi Gras,” said the company’s Artistic Director, Maeve Marsden. “We wanted to program wonderful live music every night of the festival, with something for everyone, to show locals and tourists what amazing cabaret talent we have here in Sydney.”

From Tuesday – Sunday, from Feb 14 to March 11, audiences can enjoy a fantastic variety of acts, from femme reinventions of male-penned songs with Lady Sings it Better to soulful jazz songstress ali hughes, from gorgeous gay torch singer, Brett Every, to an acoustic beer-fuelled ride through childhood cinema classics with Beauty and the Bastard: A Spoonful of Disney.

Cabaret showcase winner, Tom Sharah, offers refined cabaret sass in Que Sera Sharah and Lauren LaRouge brings sensual burlesque flare to her ukelele tunes in Lost L’Amour. Actor and singer / songwriter, Brendan Maclean, offers an indie edge and a touch of fame!

“We’re really thrilled with the mix of artists we’re showcasing. Each musician brings something different to the season, and each has a different connection to Mardi Gras and its history, said Marsden.

Burlesque star and ukulele queen, Lauren LaRouge remembers “Walking in the parade in school uniform (as I was actually a school student at the time!) and feeling the love and support of the crowd. It really was a beautiful thing, to feel all that love and everyone accepting everyone else for who and what they are.”

Maxine Kauter and James Edgar Francis For Maxine Kauter, one of the creative minds behind Beauty and the Bastard: A Spoonful of Disney, the parade and party come second to the importance of the festival, which she believes could be “a cultural festival as significant to this city as the Sydney Festival.”

“Why is it important though that queer culture and art be given such a forum? Can’t queer artists and queer audiences perform and see shows in any context? Yes, and they do. But the great and significant thing about Mardi Gras is that in that time these performers are doing it AS queer people. There’s an identification there that I feel is so important, especially for younger people,” Kauter said.

Kauter’s show queers Disney; she and the show’s co-creator, James Edgar Francis, narrate an absurd fairytale of their own invention, weaving dry comedy with soulful harmonies, their voices blending beautifully. The duo encourage their audience to dress up and come prepared to sing along…

ali hughes

As for what to expect from Ali Hughes’ collaboration with well-known jazz pianist, Leonie Cohen, titled down in the deep, Hughes said “I find expectation to be limiting for the audience and for the artist. I’d love for people to come feeling anticipation and to join it with mine. Then we can all see just where that leads us.”

down in the deep features interpretations of artists such as Kurt Weill and Nick Cave, as well as the work of fellow blackcat lounge-r, Brett Every. Hughes said she is looking forward to seeing Every’s own show, Leap Night as “his songs and voice and musicality are beautiful and so very thoughtful.” 

Featuring large on the season’s calendar is Lady Sings it Better, blackcat’s all-girl cabaret act, who take songs from the greatest male musicians of our time and reinvent them. Lady Sings it Better have had a huge 2 years since their first Mardi Gras season in 2010, performing sold-out shows and festival gigs at The Red Rattler, Jurassic Lounge, Wharf Sessions, the Festival of the Voice and the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Lady Sings it Better

Lady Sings it Better’s musical director, Joe Twist, is looking forward to the season. “Everyone loves music,” he said. “It expresses the inexpressible. It reminds us of good times, bad times, hot times, cold times and crazy times. But the best thing about music is that special meaning each song has for every person, which makes music one of the must adaptable and versatile art forms.“

“Music has this magical sense of versatility that is continually fascinating. That’s why Ladies can sing songs originally sung by men and make them better - or the other way around too. Take a 90s grunge hit by Silverchair and add a touch of 60s gospel rhythm and blues, and you make people smile; you give them another excuse to love music in a whole new way.”

the black cat boys

Aware of how busy the Mardi Gras season is, blackcat productions have scheduled a number of showcase or variety nights. For a taste of the season, you can catch all of the male artists at the blackcat boys, or each Saturday see the featured artists play tribute to their queer musical heroes at HOMAGE. Playing covers of famous GLBTQI musicians, HOMAGE takes the audience on a trip down memory lane, and introduces some undiscovered gems.

This opportunity to sing songs by famous GLBTQI musicians allows the blackcat lounge artists to explore their own relationship to sexuality and identity, warmly and humourously musing through the stereotypes and truths, shared moments and narratives. HOMAGE honours the community’s history, and offers a rockin’ good Saturday night.

“Queer means feathers, irreverence, homos, singalongs and fantastically thrilling feats of intertextual logic,” said Kauter. What more could a seasoned Mardi Gras patron want?

Everyone is welcome to the season’s opening night on February 14, a Valentine’s Day taste of all the sumptuous acts on offer.

blackcat lounge is an intelligent, creative, varied season, curated to demonstrate to the GLBTQI and wider community what amazing independent talent Sydney has on offer.

blackcat lounge is proudly supported by the SGLBA Good Works FundKawai and The Green Room Lounge.


Phoebe Meredith (left), and Maeve Marsden blackcat productions is Phoebe Meredith and Maeve Marsden, a creative duo based in Sydney, NSW. They nurture creative women and queer talent through producing independent cabaret and live music events. They support artists, with creative direction and support, marketing, PR, financial and production management, so artists can do what they are good at: make art!

They are currently preparing to tour Beauty and the Bastard: A Spoonful of Disney and Lady Sings it Better to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012.

A collective of performers, musicians, designers and crew who all work together to make quality live entertainment and support Sydney’s independent arts scene, the company bring a rich mix of skills and experience in cabaret, jazz, musical theatre, classical and pop music, as well as theatre, stand up and improvisation.

blackcat productions are committed to diversity, creativity, nice wine and not taking themselves too seriously.






blackcat lounge schedule of events:

All acts are at 7.30pm at The Sidetrack Theatre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville



February 14   blackcat lounge Opening Night

February 15, 23, 24 & March 2, 4, 7, 8   Lady Sings it Better  

February 16 , Mar 6  ali hughes & leonie cohen down in the deep   

February 17  the blackcat boys             

February 18, 25 & March 3, 10  HOMAGE: A Tribute to Queer Musical Heroes 

February 19, 21  Beauty and the Bastard: A Spoonful of Disney  

February 22  Que Sera Sharah

February 29 Leap Night With Brett Every

March 1  Brendan Maclean

March 9  Lauren LaRouge Lost L’Amour                  


Related posts:

Spoonful of Beauty & the Bastard Part 1: Inspiration

HOMAGE: A Tribute to Queer Musical Heros @ The Factory Theatre (Sydney) 

Lady Sings it Better than ever @ Camelot Lounge (Sydney)


**Calling all Adelaide Fringe 2012 cabaret performers! If you are interested in having your Fringe show featured on Cabaret Confessional, click here for more information.

Find out how YOU can become an exclusive Founding Patron of Cabaret Confessional.

Subscribe to Cabaret Confessional via email.

‘Like’ Cabaret Confessional on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.
Editor Permission Required
You must have editing permission for this entry in order to post comments.