Venue: New Theatre (Newtown NSW), Jan 8 – 19, 2014
Festival Director: Kate Gaul
Musical Director: Daryl Wallis
Image by David Paul Jobling
Featuring a diverse selection from the Sydney cabaret scene, Short+Sweet encapsulates the best of our weird and whacky performers, all of whom are idiosyncratic and many, talented and original. The inaugural event concluded with an awards night where winners were announced (list below), based on votes from a judging panel, as well as audience selections. It is noteworthy that among the 40+ acts, a vast majority of participants were female, even though the winners list reads to be fairly gender balanced. This is a space that attracts female artists, and Short+Sweet should be lauded for its establishment.
Highlights include Thomas Albert and Samuel Valentine, two ridiculously talented young men who wrote several original songs and the script for Dirty Sexy Politics, which showcases their skills in comedy and musical performance. Theirs is unquestionably one of the most substantial and confident compositions in the festival, and are greatly deserving of both their award wins.
Harry & Liv is a sibling pairing, by real-life siblings Charlotte and Evan Kerr. Their musical talents and chemistry as a duo are outstanding, leaving an indelible impression and winning them two awards. The brother’s performance of “I Go To Rio” is a particularly effervescent moment in the festival. There are a few pieces in the festival that would benefit from extended renditions (they are only allowed 10 minutes each), and this is one of them.
Another duo Jacqui Dark and Kanen Breen wow’d the audience with their vocal abilities in Strange Bedfellows, a piece about twisted friendships that features unrelenting camp humour. Camp features heavily in the festival. In Dance With De Vil, Brendan Hay plays Cruello de Vill (Cruella’s son) with enough flamboyance and vitriol to make his mother beam with pride, and to win Best Male Cabaret artist.
Other memorable performers include Anne Wilson who presented two creations including the hilarious Pastor Dorcas who very excitedly warns her congregation about Judas who is known for “back-stabbing” (that’s a paraphrase). Great work also, from Irene Nicola who starts off with a nerdy striptease and ends with some unexpectedly beautiful singing, but not before providing a very dense lecture on performance theory and psychoanalysis.
Musical director of the festival is Daryl Wallis, who must be congratulated for the brilliant accompaniment he provided to more than half the acts. He has had to perform a very wide range of styles for performers from all kinds of backgrounds, and on many occasions, supply crucial dramatic or comedic accents. Wallis’ contribution to the festival’s success cannot be understated.
Peoples Choice for Best Cabaret Dirty Sexy Politics
Judges Choice for Best Cabaret Harry & Liv
Best Original Music Thomas Albert and Samuel Valentine Dirty Sexy Politics
Best Script Cienda McNamara Hardly the Portrait of a Lady
Best Comedy Hardly the Portrait of a Lady
Best Burlesque The Good The Bad and the Fugly
Best Newcomers Charlotte and Evan Kerr Harry & Liv
Best Female Cabaret Artist Cienda McNamara Hardly the Portrait of a Lady
Best Male Cabaret Artist Brendan Hay Dance With De Vil