Paul Capsis discusses starring role in Little Bird

Cabaret Festival favourite Paul Capsis discusses his starring role in the winter festival’s most anticipated production of 2014, Little Bird.

Cabaret Festival favourite Paul Capsis discusses his starring role in the winter festival’s most anticipated production of 2014, Little Bird.

Fresh off a plane from Sydney (for the Harbour City’s run of Windmill’s Pinocchio) to rehearsals for Little Bird, a tired but excited Paul Capsis meets The Adelaide Review, as Australia’s king of cabaret will star in the first collaboration between the Cabaret Festival and the State Theatre Company, Little Bird. Following Pinocchio, this will be the second Adelaide-based production in a row for Capsis. Written by Nicki Bloom (Land and Sea), directed by Geordie Brookman (State Theatre’s Artistic Director) and with songs by Cameron Goodall and Quentin Grant (You, Me and The Bloody Sea), Little Bird is a showcase of Adelaide’s finest, aside from the starring role, which was created especially for Capsis. The versatile singer and actor plays Wren, the star of this adult fairy tale, which is based on The Juniper Tree by the Brothers Grimm. Promoted as ‘Brothers Grimm meet Ziggy Stardust’, Capsis says he was attracted to the project due to the challenge of performing this huge show solo, as well as the quality of Bloom’s writing. “As soon as it was presented I said, ‘I love this’,” explained Capsis. “I enjoyed it as a piece just to read. I’ve never worked with Geordie before, so it’s great to work with all these new people whom I haven’t worked with, Cameron and Quentin, I haven’t worked with any of them.” The five-time Helpmann Award winner is best known to Adelaide audiences for A Company of Strangers as well as many solo shows including last year’s The Paul Capsis Revue. The star of films such as Head On and 2013’s The Boy Castaways says Little Bird takes The Juniper Tree and gives it a gender-themed makeover. “What appeals to me are those weird things, those out of the box things, and a subject matter that’s a little diffi cult because of the fact that this character is uncertain about who he is, which happens in real life. There are people who don’t know where they fit either sexually or just life in general – they don’t feel comfortable in their bodies. There’s a bit of that in this piece in that Wren isn’t comfortable, Wren isn’t sure and he tries to fi nd himself via other people and their energies and experiences.” A live band will back Capsis on a stage designed by Geoff Cobham. He says the songs written by Goodall and Grant are Nick Cave-esque. “It’s got a bit of that vibe; rock and folk, it’s not musical theatre that’s for sure. Although there’s a lot of storytelling, in the songs, it’s more my flavour of music. I guess, it’s more rocking.” Capsis stresses that Little Bird is not musical theatre in the vein of Dreamgirls or Gypsy. “There’s a difference between this and musical theatre and cabaret. This is more like the German style of musical theatre.” Though we have seen Capsis perform many different productions in Adelaide, there is one yet to hit Adelaide, the acclaimed solo show Angela’s Kitchen. “People ask me all the time, ‘Are you going to bring it back?’ A lot of people didn’t see it, even in Sydney. We did two sellout seasons in Sydney because it was in the Griffin Theatre, which has 100 seats. Who knew it was going to be so successful? I certainly was the last person who thought it was going to do any good. “I would love to do it again. When? I don’t know but I would love to bring it back at some stage. It also scares me because it took a lot out of me, more than I ever realised it would, because of the personal nature of it and that it was me on stage for an hour and 18 minutes non-stop.” Little Bird Adelaide Cabaret Festival Her Majesty’s Theatre Friday, June 6 to Sunday, June 22

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