The weather is getting colder and summer has officially left us for another year, which can only mean one thing: cabaret season is here!
The best way to beat the winter blues is to warm yourself by the hot, hot talent we have in Adelaide over Cabaret Festival and Cabaret Fringe Festival season.
One such talent is Josh Belperio, an emerging singer songwriter who is performing at Carclew as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival.
Josh, who is being mentored by award-winning cabaret artists, Michael Griffiths and Amelia Ryan, thanks to a Helpmann Academy Grant, is working with new independent theatre company ‘Under the Microscope’ to produce the show.
Showing at the beautiful Carclew Ballroom from 22nd until 24th June, original production Scarred for Life was pieced together by Josh and his creative partner Matthew Briggs.
“Matthew Briggs, the Executive Producer and Artistic Director of Under The Microscope, is not only my creative partner-in-crime, but he is also the love of my life,” Josh says. “Matthew is one of the most creative people I know. He’s a very out-of-the box thinker, and a lot of his ideas are both unusual and exciting.”
The pair are a dynamic team whose creative connection grew from a mutual love of art and a great respect for each other’s talents.
“Our relationship came first,” Josh says. “We tried not to work together for a while, because I thought that work life and relationship should be kept separate. But in the end, we just couldn’t help ourselves. We are in each other’s heads so much and we are almost always creating, seeing or discussing art; it was just something that naturally happened.”
And with the help of cabaret sensations Amelia Ryan and Michael Griffiths, Scarred for Life is bound to make a lasting impression.
“I get the opportunity to work with world class cabaret performers, Michael and Amelia,” Josh says. “With them, we are structuring the show. I get to access their extensive experience of what lands with an audience, and what doesn’t, how to tell a story in an interesting and engaging way – and this is all before the show has seen its first audience. Which means that the show will be so much stronger than it would have been without the help of someone experienced. I am so inspired by their knowledge, I feel like a kid in the biggest sandpit!”
Drawing inspiration from influences like Tim Minchin and Eddie Perfect, Josh says his work incorporates comedy and irony with a healthy dose of social conscience.
“Both of those artists are excellent lyricists. Perfect writes stunning poetic lines like ‘girl number two had “forever” written ‘cross her face’, while the beauty of Minchin’s lyrics lie in his conversational approach. ‘White Wine in the Sun’ has hardly a rhyme in it. Quite often he is making speech-like observations, but somehow through setting them to music and phrasing them the way he does, they gain an air of profoundness,” he says.
“Both have a real social consciousness to their writing; Minchin’s hot buttons being religion, child molestation and defence of empirical thinking. Perfect’s include queer rights, fads, consumerism, and generally holding up a mirror to all the flaws in our society. Heavy topics. But, through a mix of double meaning, irony and wit, they discuss them in a really entertaining, funny way. Then, they are both stunning singers, awesome pianists and fantastically engaging performers. I look up to them for all of those reasons. I couldn’t think of better role models when embarking on this new venture of cabaret.”
Scarred for Life promises autobiographical stories of being hurt, falling in love, growing up and being left with a scar, with Josh’s deepest wounds making an appearance on stage.
“They say to write what you know. Where better to start than your own life experience?” he says. “My biggest scar is quite literally the eight inch one on my abdomen, which I may reveal during the show. That’s from the crisis that forms the framework of the piece. But of course, the result of having experienced trauma is anxiety, which I’ve struggled with since I was 15, sometimes in quite an incapacitating way.
“I’m the kind of writer that, rather than glossing over that on the way to happier moments, I want to really explore it. So the show is really about mental health and fear. And how we overcome that.”
Josh hopes the themes of anxiety, trauma and loss will give audiences something to think about and hopefully connect with them.
“I hope people who have gone through anxiety, trauma, loss or pain will find something in the work that will resonate with them. That is my aim,” he says.
“I hope people who grapple with the randomness of life, and the fact that our lives can be altered or taken away at any instant, can find some consolation, and inspiration to go out and live their lives anyway. Because, if anything, the random nature of life proves that life is valuable. And that’s a reason to make the most of it.”