A mixed-load-cycle cabaret of hoarded clothes and the stories they keep, step inside 'Frankly's Wordrobe' and into something a little more uncomfortable at Adelaide Fringe.
Frankly has a few questions: Grown up an only child? Wondered is it a chemical burn or am I just high? Accidentally stolen a small child's cat? If you answered 'yes' to any of those question, you should probably be writing cabaret.
Or you'll throughly enjoy the antics of 'Frankly's Wordrobe'. We chat to the protagonist of the show to find out more.
Tell us a bit about the cabaret show you’ll be performing at Adelaide Fringe?
[Frankly] The initial inspiration of the show was a memory complex that I have; when I try to sink into a memory the first thing my brain pulls up is what I was wearing on that day, and then the other details come in from there.
It’s always been something I found interesting about my brain, so I thought it would be a fun way to structure a show.
I’ve described the work as a ‘mixed-load-cycle cabaret’ as many of the songs work as stand-alone pieces, yet the underlying theme of all the songs is: uncomfortable. Working from that theme, I’ve pulled some horrifically laughable events from my life, and some confronting, tender tales.
Like all my shows, these stories are told via a collection of original compositions in an intimate and casual atmosphere. The feeling I get when I rehearse this work is that I’m in my bedroom contemplating what to wear while I speak candidly to a friend.
And what type of words do you like to keep in your wordrobe?
Mostly a bunch of creative cuss words.
Who is an ideal audience member for this show?
Someone who is drawn to artists for their humanity.
I’ve never felt like the most technically impressive performer, but I am an honest and emotionally vulnerable one and I find that is why people are attracted to my work. My favourite audiences are those that are just open to connect in the space and are up for a laugh.
Your performances routinely deal with vulnerable feelings, self-deprecating humour and embarrassing or tense stories; how does the stage and playing the role of Frankly allow you to escape any self-doubt thoughts to entertain an audience?
There’s power on the stage, or perhaps it’s just the waves of adrenaline that keep the doubts at bay when you’re performing.
When I started performing, I worked under my real name and I found that trapping. It made me anxious when I deviated from the truth to make for a better song, or what I was speaking very personally. So even operating under a stage name lifted some of the barriers for me.
I think while Frankly is still very naturalistic and mostly just an unfiltered version of my internal monologue, being her has opened me up to more play in my songwriting.
Does Frankly ever appear in general conversations or interactions when you’re not on stage?
Frankly saves my arse quite frequently when I begin to buckle under social anxiety. She goes on all of my first dates for me. She quite often covers my shifts at work. I don’t even host my own parties anymore, Frankly takes care of that too!
As a local as well as being your fourth appearance, what does Adelaide Fringe mean to you?
It means vibrancy, people watching, and passing accents; new experiences, fatigue, being amazed by people’s ideas and feeling energised by the chaos.
Take us back to the elective cabaret course you did at university; how much has that re-shaped your artistic career?
It opened me up to a new way of connection with people.
At the time, I’d always felt estranged, making cabaret the most terrifying yet alluring medium for me. But really, the lesson is just the lesson. The most important thing that shapes and re-shapes my art is experimentation.
Post Fringe, what are your artistic plans?
2020 = album. That is my major project after Fringe. I have been in conversation with an Adelaide venue about restoring Adelaide’s cabaret scene after the sad closure of La Boheme last year, so keep an eye out for that one in the coming months.
'Frankly's Wordrobe' plays at Astor Hotel as part of Adelaide Fringe 20-22, 27-29 Feb and 5-7, 12-13 March.