Current Issue #488

‘We’re a bit jealous of Adelaide's cabaret scene’: Tomás Ford

‘We’re a bit jealous of Adelaide's cabaret scene’: Tomás Ford

After gaining a cult-following around the world with his high-energy alternative cabaret, Perth’s Tomas Ford is bound for Cabaret Fringe.

Tomás Ford bonds with his audience by making them feel slightly uncomfortable with his energetic punk cabaret.

“I tend to work with the audience as a whole and try and get everybody to have a bit of a shared experience that we can all bond over,” Ford says. “A lot of the time it’s about doing transgressive things, like punk rock kind of things in the space, where people maybe feel uncomfortable together… It’s just kind of gently terrifying everybody so we have some sense of shared trauma by the end of the show.”

A self-confessed lover of Adelaide’s cabaret scene, Ford says cities like Adelaide and Perth are great places to boost your art with a cosy community who support one another.

“Adelaide has quite a strong local cabaret scene and that feeds into Cabaret Fringe and we’re kind of a bit jealous of it over here in Perth,” he says.

“I’m incredibly difficult to program [in the official Adelaide Cabaret Festival], like they can’t sell me to their audience which realistically is middle-aged conservative inner Adelaide folks. I’m not for that — I scare the shit out of those people. So Cabaret Fringe is just a great festival for people who don’t necessarily fit with a traditional cabaret audience so we can still interact with the cabaret scene at large.”

At La Boheme, Ford will “smash” three of his touring shows together for Three Show Endurance Test I Mean Retrospective. Ford will perform warped covers of terrible pop songs for the show’s opener Craptacular before performing his musical spy thriller Chase. Hefinishes the night with a comedic nervous breakdown in Brawl.

“It ended up being a really cool way for people to catch up with what I do and the way [the shows] flow together is actually really great,” Ford says. “They contrast each other really well.”

Ford will also host a kitsch ’80s themed request only party at The Hindley called Crap Music Rave Party.

“There are so many dodgy DJs out there that sometimes it’s just a relief to have someone be wildly enthusiastic about your crappy request,” Ford says. “I only play requests. They’ve got to be really crap. I only play requests, so it changes every night and it really is up to the crowd on what they want to listen to. People can kind of tell it’s going to be a really good night out with their mates and it’s just a really communal happy show where the persona I have on stage is a really hyperactive little kid.”

Ford does admit to having a few arguments with punters about what constitutes as ‘crap’ music, though.

“It’s super subjective but that’s part of the fun. If you write down a request and I think it’s too good then I will argue with you about it,” he says. “If I’m cringing then I know the rest of the audience will be cringing as well. It’s just about having that transcendent moment of like, ‘How did culture get to this point?'”

Tomás Ford: Three Show Endurance Test I Mean Retrospective
La Boheme – Cabinet Room

Saturday, June 16, 9.15pm

Tomás Ford: Crap Music Rave Party
The Hindley

Friday, June 15, 8pm

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