Friday 9 September 2016

Not Another Indie Cabaret - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

Do you even indie? That's the question cabaret and burlesque performer Jessamae St. James will be asking during her Melbourne Fringe Festival show, Not Another Indie Cabaret. The comedy cabaret takes a nostalgic look at the drunken purchases we make while on eBay.  

"The show is a brand new musical comedy that is part self deprecating reflection, part ode to questionable adult-ing skills and part love letter to making excellent life choices whilst drunk on eBay," St James explains. "It will also be featuring original songs, all written by me, and will be played on ridiculous instruments, including an omnichord."

A visual image of an omnichord takes pride and joy in the promotional photo for the show which seems to perfectly encapsulate the tone of the show. "The image is from a series with Rachel Mia - she is an incredibly talented photographer. Rachel has taken quite a few photos for me over the years," she says. "I wanted to catch the wonderful kitsch of the omnichord whilst also displaying that I actually freaking love it."

If you're anything like me and still can't figure it out, an omnichord is an electronic musical instrument designed in the early 80s that plays synthesised sounds like a small harp. You slide your hand up and down the touch panel and ‘strum’ the harpstrings. If that doesn't sound complicated enough, St. James will also be playing the piano, ukuelle, a kazoo and a loop peddle! "Loops were always something I wanted to explore but I never was much of a fan of pedal systems. The one I use in the show is hand operated, which allows me to be much more focused on the audience."

St. James came to prominence with her first original cabaret in 2012, Tied Up, which looked at the strange and peculiar word of sexual fetishes. In developing Not Another Indie Cabaret, she had to challenge her entire creative process to make the show she wanted to perform. "This show is almost the opposite in structure. Tied Up operated as a collection of spoken word (monologue) and songs, each exploring a different fetish. Not Another Indie Cabaret is musical comedy and in many ways surprisingly much more personal. New show on new subject with 11 original songs is a big task but I'm in great hands with director Steven Gates (from Tripod)!"

There is one more question I need to ask St. James though, and that is, does she even indie? "Do I indie? You'll have to come to the show to see. But really, did I mention omnichord, ukulele and kazoo?" How indie indeed.


If you had to name your child after a vegetable what would it be? 
Green bean. Because rhyming.

Which reality TV show would you most like to appear/compete on? 
Food Network Star. Food Network Star. Food Network Star. Also I think I would excel at making the challenges for Cutthroat's possible that I watch a lot of Food Network.

The most irritating habit I have is
currently I like to try and sing Hamilton really loud but I don't know the words.

What's a song that sums up your life?
HA! Well, I have a beat poem about eating gluten free in my show...

During Fringe, I really, really, really want to dance hard, fall in love with some new amazing artists and do a heaps good show.

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Season: 20 - 25 September | Tues - Sun 8:30pm
Length: 50 minutes

Tickets: $32 Full | $28 Conc | $25 Group 6+

Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

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