The dirty martini of the cabaret world, Brett Haylock's 'Club Swizzle' is back for its fourth and final season at the Sydney Opera House this December through to January.
'Club Swizzle' is the 'sibling' to Brett's international success 'La Soirée', but the show's creator believes it is something that has never been done before.
“Touring with the band and having the band gives you this real, incredible quality and that's something I hadn't done before. It is amazing. Every night is different. We are able to respond to the other performers. They're able to hit every mark. You've got a host, Murray Hill, sort of ripping into and playing with the audience. That's when he shines brightest. The band are right in the middle.
“No two shows are the same, as a result of that. We might go off on a tangent because a member of the audience has done something and the whole show will take another direction. We eventually pull back to its structure but that makes it very exciting for everybody,” he says.
Image © Claudio Raschella
Brett believes audiences are still drawn to the “shameless escapism” of cabaret because it “isn't television.”
“You're seeing the physical side, you're seeing acrobats, some of the best acrobats in the world. An audience really respect and appreciate that. You only learn those skills through sheer hard work and commitment.
“What 'Swizzle' creates, is this little community of 500 people for that night. For the duration of that show, they come together, they share something very special, no other show is like that. It is completely unique. The kind of shows I'm involved in are really very old-fashioned. There's something timeless about them.
“In a digital world, we just would love to turn that phone off. We tell the people, 'turn that phone off, you don't need it and just engage'. People love it, and they respond accordingly. That's universal, that's international, that's wherever we play,” he says.
Image © Prudence Upton
Even Brett will admit the alcohol served throughout the night also helps with the excitement of a show that he compares to a tequila shot or a dirty martini. “A bar helps. Surprise, surprise... It is no secret that a few drinks helps people drop their shoulders, find their groove, find their swing,” he admits.
The production is still being tweaked, despite three great seasons of fantastic reviews.
“What's really exciting this year, we've got some really exciting new cast members. So this is a show that was really conceived, devised for the long term. We were never going to put that much effort into one season at the Opera House, where it premiered two years ago. This season in Sydney is a great opportunity, I think we're really kind of twisting it, making adjustments.
“There's nothing wrong with it, but you're constantly tweaking. We've got some really new, exciting cast members that are really gonna shake things up a bit, that's particularly exciting. We're going to come back into rehearsals and it's going to have another two weeks of development.”