The Adelaide Cabaret Festival - Ansuya Nathan






In the Adelaide art scene, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival just seems to be growing exponentially every year. This year which is David Campbell’s third and final year as Artistic Director, before he hands over to Kate Ceberano, will see 50 international artists gracing our stage. And as they say it is promising to be literally bigger and better than ever.

47 shows across 16 nights the eleventh festival program is delightfully diverse, with everything from high school students to headline act - Olivia Newton John. Song, dance, comedy, the brightest and best stars from across the country and around the world, and it won’t be long before they all converge on Adelaide.

And on a local note, Adelaide artist Ansuya Nathan returns home for the Australian premiere of her solo show, ‘Long Live the King’.

Leigh: Ansuya welcome home, and welcome back to Adelaide it’s lovely to have you here.

Ansuya: Thank you very much.

Leigh: Now explain to me an Indian girl, living in Elizabeth who’s ended up playing Elvis Presley, that’s a hell of a long link, how did that happen?

Ansuya: It is a big leap. It’s basically, my parents arrived around about the time Elvis Presley died, they migrated to Adelaide, and it was one of those weird sort of coincidences where I was actually born 2 months to the day after the great man died, Elvis sort of becomes this sort of metaphor for not being able to connect with the world and dislocation and the grief you kind of feel when you leave a family behind and start a new home essentially.

Leigh: Is it a funny show?

Ansuya: It is. Yes, it is very, very funny.

Leigh: And you must sing a lot of Elvis?

Ansuya: I do sing quite a bit of Elvis, I sing as Elvis as well, I get into the white jumpsuit and give it a bit of my impersonation of the man.

Leigh: Can you sing me some Elvis?

Ansuya: Ahhh! Well I can talk a bit like this; this is how he does it, “thank you, thank you very much”.

Leigh: So tell me about the show, when did you first launch it and where?

Ansuya: I performed the show first in Edinburgh last year which was quite a terrifying experience; it’s one of the biggest arts festivals in the world, if not the biggest but decided that was the safest place to do it.

Leigh: And why was that… most people would be terrified about the thought of performing in Edinburgh?

Ansuya: Because this story is so personal, it is essentially a reimagining of the way I came into the world and about my parents, that to debut the show here was far too terrify.

Leigh: I bet it was, but Mum and Dad have since seen it?

Ansuya: They have. (Leigh: And they laughed?) They laughed a lot. Within the first few lines I could hear my Dad giggling down the back so that was quite a relief.

Leigh: What do you love coming back too?

Ansuya: Well family. All of my family is here, Mum, Dad, Brothers, it’s just so calming! It’s got a lovely pace to it; with everything you could possibly still want in terms of experiences and culture, and restaurants and things to do.

Leigh: So, when you’re here and you’re not performing your own show which I’m sure will be a complete sell out and success, what other shows do you have your eye on?

Ansuya: Paul Capsis, an extraordinary performer, I remember seeing him for the first time in Edinburgh in 2003 and he just moved me to tears. A friend of mine is doing a show, Mike McLeish, he played Keating in Keating the Musical, just how he dealt with what happened next after that.

Leigh: So you have the Elvis show which is happening and fabulous, how does Adelaide rate on the world stage when it comes to Cabaret?

Ansuya: It’s an amazing festival, it really is considered right up there with the best if not the best I think. So many performers vie to get into this festival, it’s really seen as a wonderful thing to put on the CV.

Leigh: What next?

Ansuya: I’m working on a few different projects; I’m working on adapting this story for screen which I think would be a wonderful South Australian story to tell. I’m working on a novel, so all kind of things, I kind of not very good at doing one thing.

Leigh: Well I tell you what, best of luck with the show, I’m sure you don’t need it, and it’s been lovely to talk chat with you, thank you.

Ansuya: Thank you very much.