Cabaret is not a dirty word

Cabaret was once the hight of culture, but during the 90’s and 00s it became a term associated with crude dinner theatre and budget production. Not so anymore. With touring cabaret’s like Spiegelworld, which played in Newcastle to packed houses earlier this year, we’ve seen a renaissance of the art form. Songs for the Fallen, which plays the Civic Theatre Newcastle on Thursday October 15, is one such cabaret style production that is raising the bar.

We spoke to writer and leading lady, Sheridan Harbridge ahead of the shows arrival in town tomorrow.

Sheridan is a NIDA graduate who was drawn to tell the story of Marie Duplessis, a Courtesan, party girl, liar and legend of 1940’s paris because of Marie’s extraordinary journey from the Provinces to her tragic death at the age of 23.

“She was a ‘party girl’ so the show is like a big final birthday party she never got to have” Sheridan tells us.

On January 15th, 1847, Marie Duplessis got out of bed, put on a dress, ordered a bottle of champagne, and sat alone in her Paris apartment to celebrate her birthday. She died 18 days later.

Songs for the Fallen charts Marie’s life from poverty to infamy in burgeoning 19th century Paris.

And what about those costumes?

“It’s really just one costume for me. Marie’s journey is a roller coaster, she goes from poverty and then to wealth and back again really rapidly. She gets it all and then she looses it all, so the costume kind of reflects that. So I’m sort of adding things and tearing them off again”.

We wanted to ask Sheridan why her creative team chose to use a Cabaret style of production to tell Marie’s story.

“I think Cabaret has had a really renaissance in the last 5 years. I think a lot of it is to do with money, and the lack of it. There’s a lot of excellent talent in this country and not many places to practice your art. Cabaret gives you a lot of freedom to present the arts in innovative ways and save money on production costs. It also helps that big cabaret companies like Spiegelworld have brought amazing shows to Australia that have been accessible and very successful” she reflects.


Songs For The Fallen comes to the Civic Theatre Newcastle on Thursday the 15th of October. Tickets can be purchased from their website.

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