Interview: Matt Gilbertson Mein Camp

Hans Mein Camp Adelaide Fringe 2017How do we know the Cabaret Festival is a big success?

Because it can brag a brilliant burgeoning Cabaret Fringe Festival.


Therein, amid the joy of colour and movement, sequins and feathers and dazzling descants, appears Adelaide superstar and rising international star Matt Gilbertson aka Hans.


As Hans, Gilbertson is hosting the Fringe’s big Gala night in the Freemasons' Hall.

In the same venue on the next night, he’s turning on his Fringe Festival hit show, Mein Camp.


He can’t stop giggling about how the world has changed.

“Imagine me at the Freemasons’ amid the secret handshakes and all,” he exclaims.


It’s far from the spirit of Gluttony where he scored five star reviews for his high-kicking German spoof and also far from The Underbelly Hub on the Edinburgh Fringe where is will soon be performing Mein Camp.

“It will be the Edinburgh version I will be doing for the Cabaret Fringe,” he says.

“Me, the band and no girls.

“How will I survive without The Lucky Bitches? I will just have to dance harder.

“I just have them as an act of charity you know, not to add to the show. No, it’s not for the audience, a lot of whom prefer it without them…”

There’s a pause.

“I think I know how to get myself killed,” he chuckles.


There are, indeed, only so many international airfares a Fringe act can justify. The band which Hans has so kindly named the Ungrateful Bastards, are doubtless more than enough.


Gilbertson, whose day job is as gossip columnist for the mainstream daily, The Advertiser,  is down to do up to 30 shows on the August trip to the UK - several in London, one of which is at Nick Zappa’s London Riviera and about 28 in Edinburgh at the Underbelly Hub.

“Scary and exciting,” he says.


Of course, with his hit show riddled with topical Donald Trump jokes, the cabaret funny man is worried about news emerging from the USA. Trump has been a good tool for comedy and, as Gilbertson points out, the comment on social and political happenings is inherent to the history of cabaret.


The official Cabaret Festival is looking very promising, he says. And it is not only because it has such an impressive Fringe.

“It has a bit more of a fringey vibe to it this year,” he opines.

“There are fewer Broadway divas and there are things like the Spiegeltent. This is interesting because part of the point of the Cabaret Festival was in that it took cabaret artistes in the establishment theatre. Now they have the Spiegeltent.”


Gilbertson knows all about performing outside conventional venues. He started out with an accordion, busking in the streets of Adelaide. 


The Cabaret Fringe has generated a spectacular line-up of interesting, unusual, glamorous, amusing and talented artistes of every genre and gender. There’s Frankly Winehouse, Dolly Diamond, Cabaret Allsorts, Hot Club de Adelaide, Rusalka, Mikelangelo, Becky Blake, Mama Alto, Tim Nicholson, The Girl from Ipanema, Tomas Ford and masses of others. Their 45 shows are all over town in 16 venues from Nexus Arts and the Chihuahua Bar through La Boheme, the Arkaba, the German Club, Bakehouse Theatre, right down to the Railway Hotel at Port Adelaide and even Ayers House.


Samela Harris


The Cabaret Fringe runs from 3 to 25 June.

Tickets are on sale now.


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