Natasha York will make her Adelaide Fringe debut this year with her cabernet cabaret These Things Take Wine.
Natasha got in touch with us to participate in our 16 for ’16 spectacular and we had a
great laugh; Natasha is as funny as she is talented.
Brisbane born, but Melbourne based, Natasha may be debuting at Fringe, but it’s not her first gig in Adelaide; the first one was a tale of disaster and hilarity.
“I was doing a friend’s show called Velvet Addiction. He hadn’t produced cabaret before and he decided he wanted to tour it all over Australia. I didn’t know anything, I had just finished music theatre school, so I thought, Awesome! I’m in a show that tours! Little did we know a major part of cabaret is actually the producing side; you know, like getting people to come to your show?” she laughs. “The venue we chose was right next door to a punk rock night, so that was an excellent place for a cabaret that was parodying theatre with only musical theatre songs. The more I think about it, the more I think we were so stupid!”
“Anyway, we got to Adelaide and we’d driven there from Melbourne. On the way, I’d killed so many galahs, which I felt terrible about. Then we arrived and we couldn’t find the hotel and then we couldn’t fit the giant van full of all our props in the hotel parking. Finally we get to the hotel and my friend walks up the steps and breaks his toe! There were two tap dancing numbers in the show, so this was a problem! Meanwhile, he left his wallet on top of the car and it was stolen,” she says.
Sounds bad enough, but that’s not the end of the story.
“We strapped my friend’s toe and gave him enough drugs so he could tap in the show, then we got to the venue and they said only nine people had bought tickets, so we thought we’d go flyering!” she laughs. “We went into Rundle Mall wearing the giant pill costumes we wear in the show – they’re dopamine and serotonin, so we were literally pills – and tried to flyer people walking past.
“A homeless guy came up and punched my friend (the one with the broken toe) in the stomach and yelled at him. This wasn’t during Fringe, mind you, so it would have been very random to be dressed as pills, flyering in the mall. It was the worst experience. We only did the one show, luckily. We drove back to Melbourne the next day and I had to drive because he had a broken toe.”
Looking back on it, Natasha sees the funny side, calling it a “rookie error” and vowing things will be different in her show, These Things Take Wine, which is playing at The Bally and The Piglet in Gluttony.
She’s written a show all about the tales, trials, tribulations and titillations of drinking wine, so she figured it was only fair she bring it to the state with the best wine regions.
“I will absolutely be drinking your wine while I’m there! When I wrote the show, I thought, I must take this one to Adelaide! It makes complete sense. It’s tax deductible! Well, I’m not really sure if that’s real, but if it is, I’m going to be a millionaire; in case it’s not, any donations are welcome,” she jokes.
The show has already completed a few seasons at the Butterfly Club in Melbourne and Wonderland Festival in Brisbane, and was inspired by her hard slog at music theatre.
“I guess the reason I wrote it in the first place was that I’d just spent three years at music theatre school, where it’s very restrictive and, if you like to party, then you don’t care about your art or music theatre. But when I went to Melbourne and got into heaps of cabaret and hosting, there were people getting wrecked all the time, but creating beautiful work, and I thought, hang on a second, you can actually be a real human and be allowed to drink for three months and create art and work,” she says, earnestly.
“In a way, it was my big ‘f*ck you’ to music theatre school and me saying, ‘hey guys, I can create work and have a fun time and actually use my fun times in my work!’ But I also want it to help people, in that if you want to have a good time and live life to the fullest, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or not achieving things. I think it’s almost up there in the same ilk as slut shaming and that sort of thing.
“I suffered massive anxiety during uni because I was singing in a band as well as going to music theatre school and, of course when you sing in a band, you hang out with band people, you have a couple of drinks and I used to think, I don’t know where I belong! This show has been massive therapy to me, but also for other people to let them know it’s fine. That’s not to say go have fun and ruin your life, or anything like that!”
These Things Take Wine is a musical comedy cabaret with some unique musical arrangements, and some more recognisable parody songs.
“It’s autobiographical, set around situations. Like when you think, Oh, I should go for an after work drink, and then it’s five in the morning. Come on, we’ve all been there!” Natasha laughs.
“I parody songs and there’s a fair few mashups and really strange interpretations of songs, thanks to my musical director. I met him through Impromptunes, which is a group that improvises musicals on the spot. He and I went to town on a few songs. 60-70% is parodies and the other 30-40% is mashing up songs unrecognisably.”
“It’s not a hard sell; I mean, do you like wine? Have you ever had a regret on wine? Then this is the show for you. You can drink and watch a show!”
By Libby Parker
Libby Parker is a journalist, teacher and life enthusiast.
You can follow her on Twitter at @upsidenews_lib