For the first time since the 1960s, Variety is returning to the Governor Hindmarsh, and it’s a veritable feast of Adelaide’s best performers.
From music, to comedy, magic and dance, The Gov’s A Magical Night of Variety show will take up where variety show entertainer Patricia Kennedy, AKA The Big Pretzel, left off 50 years ago.
With a host of entertainers sourced locally and from around the country, the show on Friday June 3 is hosted by Adelaide comedian Ross Voss (Vosvotekas), who is looking forward to bringing variety back to The Gov.
“I wanted to try the variety show concept in a larger room, after producing and hosting them locally for about five years in smaller venues around the city,” he says.
“It’s a happy coincidence that variety was one of the first forms of entertainment at The Gov, so hopefully that is a good omen for the June 3 show.”
The show, which at this stage is a one-off, but if it’s successful, it may continue, has a huge line up, which Ross is very excited about.
“Two of Adelaide’s best emerging bands: Pink Noise Generator and Apollo Sons, three hilarious comedians, magic and dance, Tasha Zappala from Townsville is amazing; and perhaps the highlight will be 80s Adelaide band Vertical Hold reuniting as a duo acoustic as Vertical Old!” he says.
One of the three comedians is Fresh FM breakfast host and local comedian, Liam Stapleton, who scored the gig due through his comedy connection with Ross.
“I got involved with the Variety Show through doing gigs with Ross. I was doing the Cranker Comedy with him; I’ve hosted it and done feature spots there, so that’s how I got in contact with him,” Liam says.
The award winning comic got into comedy when he was at school, but despite being hilarious, Liam’s never really sure if he’s actually that funny.
“I’d always wanted to do comedy, and when I started doing radio, I was doing a weekend breakfast radio program with Adelaide Comedy Hall of Famer, Big Al. He was doing it, so I thought I’d give stand up comedy a crack. I did a Triple J competition called Class Clowns and I came runner-up; I was still at school then. The next year, I did Raw Comedy and I got into the state final for that. That’s how it started,” he says.
“It’s one of those things, though, where, even now, I don’t think I’m funny, but when I was at school, I realised my favourite subjects were recess and lunch and I was a bit of a larrikin. I had the teachers onside – like I wasn’t teacher’s pet, but I got away with murder, because I’d make them laugh. Then I did the stand up and radio thing, but I don’t feel funny all the time.”
We can assure you, he is funny, and this is confirmed when he starts talking about his set for A Magical Night of Variety and launches into some impressions.
“It’s cool when you’re doing variety shows, because there’s such a mix. If the audience hasn’t had comedy all night, you kind of stand out already. There’s only three comedians there on the night and, not that it’s ever really a competition, there’s less to compete with,” he laughs.
“I’ll be doing lots of high-energy comedy. Lots of extraverted stuff littered with a few impressions. In the repertoire, I have Billy Connolly, Russell Brand, Bear Grylls and people who aren’t famous. Billy Connolly is my favourite one to do, him and Alan Rickman. I do most of the standard ones like Bear Grylls and Michael Caine.”
The rest of the interview was performed as Bear Grylls.
The Gov’s A Magical Night of Variety is on Friday June 3, with doors open at 6:30pm for dinner and 7:30pm for general admission, and an 8:30 start.
Tickets are $15 plus booking fee via OzTix, or $20 at the door. Call to reserve your table for dinner and a show.
Check out Vertical (H)old in their hey day:
By Libby Parker