The Spiegeltent is Back
The Spiegeltent is back. Wait, that's not big or excited enough: THE SPIEGELTENT IS BACK! After a year and a half break, during which of all indignities Sydney got the Spiegeltent, the 90 year-old Grand Dame of travelling tents will return to the entertain the great unwashed masses of Melbourne.
With a long and crazy history - including the one and only Marlene Dietrich gracing its stages, the Spiegeltent - literally 'Mirrortent', for its inside with mirror walls, has travelled the world to land once again on Melbourne's doorstep.
There were many and varied reason for its departure, repairs, scheduling, but it turns out it was just to makes us miss her all the more. It was 2008 when it was last here and everyone involved, including the Melbourne Festival, The Arts Centre and The Spiegeltent though it would be a good idea to give it a year's rest,"
confesses Creative Director Vanessa Pigrum. "And now that we switched the timing of the visit it has become a bit longer. It has been great to have the break and bring it back; everyone is very excited by the return."
Bastards have just been toying with my drinking and dancing emotions but I can't stay mad, not if they give a fully programmed Spiegel season. "We've got about 200 different performances happening in the Spiegeltent itself over 11 weeks," Vanessa says. "There are some really great major shows like Smoke And Mirrors, The Wau Wau Sisters, Cantina, Paul Capsis, and great circus burlesque or "boy"lesque as they call it, an all-boy burlesque, some of the beefiest drag queens you have ever met. And a whole heap of really cheeky shows going in there."
Smoke and Mirrors runs February 12 through 26 and was the hit of the Sydney Festival in 2010, Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Wau Wau Sisters show, Last Supper runs the first week of March and has to be seen to be comprehended.
The Famous Spiegeltent will feature at least three shows per night, six days a week, closed Mondays, until April when the Melbourne International Comedy Festival takes it over. And as always there is a hellofa lota gigs booked into the tent. "We have a really strong music program, starting at either 6.30 or 7 every night," shares Pigrum. "A lot of touring bands are coming through: Wildbirds Peacedrums - from Sweden, Lior, Tim Rogers, Alana Stone, Jordie Lane, Teeth and Tongue, Martin Martini, Mike McLeish from Keating! The Musical - who will have a whole new show in, Ed Cooper, Katie Noonan And The Captains… We are going to have a bunch of hot acts in there."
The Spiegel fun isn't just confined to the tent, either. This year the whole area around the tent, wrapping around from the front of the Arts Centre, all the way through to the back of Curve Bar is taken over by Spiegel and Spiegel-related acts. They have designed a tropical club with day beds and deck chairs for lounging, cocktails, a games lawn where you can play badminton and learn the rules and then play croquet.
And it's not just for people like me who like drinking and dancing: the juniors are well catered for this year. Every second Sunday morning there are shows and workshops for kids and their families, a whole mixed bag including ukulele workshops and performances by Spontaneous Broadway.
The Famous Spiegeltent is back in the Arts Centre Forecourt from February 12 to April 24 with a chockers program of events, including Smoke & Mirrors , New York's infamous The Wau Wau Sisters' Last Supper and Paul Capsis - Make Me A King . Look up the Arts Centre website for full program details.