by Matt Saunders.
In the mood to relax and take in the sounds of some of Adelaide’s finest jazz acts while sipping tea and enjoying some sweet and savoury treats? Combining the societal tradition of the eighteenth century with the music of the twentieth, Jazz High Tea promises to whet your appetite in style with some swinging accompaniment.
Director Linda Catalano joins us via email to tell us all about this tasty addition to the Adelaide Fringe 2016.
How did the idea to serve High Tea in the Royal Croquet Club come about?
“I love jazz music. It conjures up images of the prohibition era for me. I imagine the quintessential Jazz joint, back in the day, was a speakeasy serving booze in tea cups. So naughty. That got me thinking about what would happen if we paired something really naughty with something really nice. High Tea is about as nice as it gets. I adore the pomp and ceremony of the tiered stand, the scones, the jam and the little sweets.
“I created an event I wanted to go to. It was a huge success in Melbourne and after some sell out seasons I was encouraged to bring the event to Adelaide. The Royal Croquet Club is the perfect setting. After all, no Croquet Club is complete without the option for a High Tea.”
Is there a recommended dress code for Jazz High Tea?
“This fancy event is the perfect excuse to get a little dressed up. Vintage threads and lovely dresses are on right track. You don’t need to go formal but I do think popping on something with a little pizazz is in the right spirit for the event. Leave the sneakers at home. Think glamour puss ladies and dapper gentlemen.”
Any tips on etiquette?
“It is proper to brew the tea first and then add the milk. I didn’t know that until I started running these events. If you brew the tea first, you can see how strong it is before you add the milk (You can add a dash of booze to spice up your tea at any point.).
Generally High Tea involves chamber music; does it feel a bit subversive to take something as traditional as High Tea and give it a dash of swing?
“Yes absolutely. That is part of the reason that it is such fun. That’s also why we serve a glass of bubbles on arrival. It’s elegant and cheeky all at once.”
Odette Mercy Trio, Miss Wonderful, Louise Messenger and The Lucky 7 will all be making their way to the Jazz High Tea stage. Can you tell us a bit about the acts that will be performing?
“The formidable Odette Mercy serves up sweet jazz standards and soul originals. She has a powerhouse voice with a sweet soul edge. Louise Messenger is one of Adelaide’s most versatile and charismatic contemporary jazz vocalists. She can go from Doris Day and Ella Fitzgerald to Katy Perry with ease.
“With a repertoire that spans jazz, roots, rock‘n’roll and rockabilly, the formidable Lucky 7 is a seven-piece outfit, also from Adelaide, who take on Sinatra, Crosby, Martin and Prima. Miss Wonderful is a glorious quartet inspired by the wonderful music of Peggy Lee & David Barbour. It’s a great mix.”
Dietary requirements will be catered to with advance notice at Jazz High Tea. How thoughtful! Tell us a bit about the gluten-free option, and any other accommodations that might be made?
“Our menu for the event will feature scones, jam, sandwiches and petit fours. Our aim is to make the gluten free option just as tasty and pretty as all the rest. With gluten free bread and scones at our fingertips we’re hoping our friends with dietary requirements will enjoy this part of the event just as much as their gluten tolerant friends.”
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
“Not many people know the story of high tea, apart from knowing it’s very British! The tradition began in the mid-1700s as an afternoon meal. Initially, it was a meal for the working man, taken standing up or sitting on tall stools, thus ‘high’ tea with cakes, scones, even cheese on toast would have been served.
“Gradually, this afternoon meal became more known as an important event on the social calendars of Ladies and Gentlemen. For the ‘Leisure Classes’, High Tea served a purpose, allowing Ladies and Gentlemen the opportunity of a eating before attending the theatre, or playing cards.
“It was around this time that the Fourth Earl of Sandwich had the idea of placing meat and other fillings between two slices of bread!
“So, come join us in 2016, for Jazz High Tea!”
Jazz High Tea will be served in The Parlour at Royal Croquet Club from 2pm on Sat 5 Mar until Mon 14 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 and adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.