by Nikki Fort.

Amy Gordon is a multi-talented globe-trotting cabaret star, winning awards and hearts in the myriad of countries she enchants with her singing, clowning, zany, roller-skating madcap musical mayhem show. She speaks with Nikki Fort about Entershamement, the solo show she is bringing to the 2016 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

“In the show, I take everything I’ve ever been ashamed of, body shame, behavioural shame, failure shame, professional shame, cultural shame, even just standard issue shyness and make musical comedy numbers about it,” Amy begins. “I don’t really use those terms in the show, I mostly use roller-skates, big diva numbers, glamour and its deconstruction, with lots and lots of feathers. It’s a constant struggle to deal with shame personally, but is a never-ending font of idiotic material.”

Did you grow up with performance?

“I’ve been performing since I was about eight years old, and that doesn’t count the puppet shows behind the couch and radio dramas on the tape deck. I sang in choir, jazz a cappella groups, and rock bands, danced since I was young and always loved playing dress-ups and being in character. I went to school for theatre arts with concentrations in acting, directing and musical theatre. Then after school I studied improvisation, clowning and physical comedy, reading everything I could find on the golden age of silent cinema clowns and watching everything in the ‘Museum of Television and Radio’.

“Then I started making real shows, and touring the world,” she says. “Cabaret feels like the medium that integrates all of my favourite things; music, dance, comedy and improv. I love the intimacy, variety and truthfulness of what happens in cabaret. Glamorous and honest, prepared and spontaneous, silly and wise; cabaret is a good excuse for absolutely anything to happen.”

When did you first come to Australia?

“My first tour of Oz was back in 2003-04 with The Daredevil Opera Company, a pyrotechnic clown theatre company I had with my boyfriend at the time,” Amy recalls. “We played the Sydney Opera House twice in the same tour with two different shows, Cirkus Inferno and Rocket Johnny and Roxanne Rolls Untimely, Tragic, and Fiery Death Stunt Show. We also did the Adelaide International Festival that tour, with Rocket and Roxy, while at the same time doing the Fringe with Cirkus Inferno. It was madness, hot, hot madness with pyrotechnics. Since then I’ve been back several times with La Clique/La Soiree, my other circus family. But this is my first time with a solo show!”

How many languages do you speak?

“I’m fairly fluent in four languages, but have learned and done my show in five” Amy says. “I am not counting the times I’ve learned a few words in Czech or Russian or Italian because I had to. I’m very happy to be able to do my show in English again. It’s a lot easier, for everybody.”

You must love travel. What are some of your favourite locations and what has been your strangest form of travel to get to a show?

“Australia is always on my list of favourite places to tour, I must admit, but I’ve also really loved playing in Colombia (everybody dances there, all the time, and the colours…!). Buenos Aires was breathtaking. I loved being in Paris but performing there was hard, unlike the south of France, where people were so happy it was remarkable.

“There’s a lovely little venue on the Seychelles I’ve played a couple of times and have to pinch myself constantly,” she says. “Okinawa was quite special, as was Manila. I was once late for a show in Manila and so I screamed through traffic on one of those death-defying motorcycle tuk-tuks. That was almost as harrowing as getting through midtown Manhattan on my own Vespa with my whole show loaded on the back. I have a lot of props and costumes, so just picture me like the guy you saw in Taiwan on his scooter with a refrigerator box and family of four. I only did that once, but I did it!”

You apparently have a live chicken on stage? Is it a trained chicken that travels with you or will any chicken do?

“Yes, she’s quite well trained, but always forgets at least part of the choreography. And she also often tips over my water onstage. I’ve been using the same chicken since the show began and I’m not sure what will happen if they take her away from me at Australian customs. I hear they’ve been cracking down on poultry.”

Do you have to share the profits with her?

“I wouldn’t dream of keeping her from her share of the scratch,” Amy says. “I don’t really like millet that much anyway.”

Amy G performs Entershamement at Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, from 7pm on Fri 10 Jun until Sat 11 Jun.

Book at BASS on 131 246 and Click HERE to purchase your tickets.

Image by Olivia Rutherford

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