The gorgeous and multi-talented Ali McGregor returns to this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, along with her sassy show, ‘Ali McGregor’s Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night’.

Anna Lozynski caught up with Ali McGregor to get a sneak preview.

Ali McGregor1. What can the audience expect from your show, Ali McGregor's Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night? 
One can expect fantastic comedy from some of the world’s best comedians, some unknown treasures, titillating burlesque, gob smacking music and misguided interpretative dance.

2. Which song in the show do you particularly enjoy performing? 
There are a few songs I alternate over the season, but must say my version of ACDC’s ‘You shook me all night long’ which ends on somewhat of a ‘climax’ never fails to invigorate!

3. Tell us about how you first came to perform at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival a few years ago?  
I met with the wonderful producer, Linda Catalano, to share my dream of creating a variety show in the vein of old Music Hall shows. With all the amazing sideshow, ironic burlesque and quality comedy in Melbourne during the comedy festival, I knew we would be able to fill each night with unique, hilarious and sometimes surprising moments. I was right.

4. It is your third invitation to the Comedy Festival. In your view, what makes your show model a success? 
There is so much choice during the festival and composite shows are a great way for audiences to see tasters of lots of acts so they can decide who they want to go and see next. Our show is a platform for some of the more off-centre acts and new comedians, mixed in with headline acts, song, dance and tricks. 

5. How did you arrive at the idea of mixing top hats, corsets and circus with song?
My extensive research about the original vaudeville, music hall and variety shows in the 19th/early 20th century inspired the concept. I wanted to give Melbourne audiences the opportunity to experience feeling excited, moved, amused and thrilled consistent with the way in which audiences from that era were entertained. 

6. Do you ever get the urge to laugh at your own joke while on stage? 
Laughing is good. I would never fight that urge! I am generally laughing at my butler Saxon (Comedian, Asher Treleaven). I try to be his straight man, but I rarely know what he is going to do next. Straight faces are pretty rare in our show. 

7. You are an award winning soprano with Opera Australia and have recently starred in La Clique, a Sideshow Burlesque. Tell us about your segue from opera into the increasingly sexy world of burlesque.
The Opera Burlesque was conceived when I was performing in one of the oldest Music Halls in the world in London’s East End. In the late 19th Century, chorus girls used to creep out of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, dash across to the east end and perform their arias in their corsets and drawers for the vaudeville loving public. The scene resonated with me. So much so that one late night after performing in Manon with Opera Australia I took some operatic lovelies with me to the Spiegeltent and recreated the moment. I have really been recreating that moment ever since.
{xtypo_quote_right}Cabaret today has been reinvented. I have travelled the world and seen many different acts. It is pleasing that Australian artists are making us all very proud{/xtypo_quote_right}
8. What excites you about cabaret as an artistic genre? 
Cabaret today has been reinvented. I have travelled the world and seen many different acts. It is pleasing that Australian artists are making us all very proud. From Dusty Limits in London, Kim Smith in New York, Meow Meow everywhere to Mikelangelo & the Black Sea Gentlemen in Edinburgh, they are each giving cabaret a dark, twisted edge and lacing it with an irony and humour that in my opinion is often missing in Cabaret.

It is exciting that I can sing opera and AC/DC in the same hour and the audience runs with me. There is a certain kind of freedom on a cabaret stage that I haven’t felt on any other stage before.

9. What do you know now that you wish you had discovered at the beginning of your career? 
Corsets. A good one can make any girl look fabulous, help you stand up straight and remind you to support yourself, which is essential when singing. 

10. What and which individual in your life could you not live without? 
I couldn’t live without my MacBook as I do everything on it: design the artwork, book the acts, and mix the music. (It is also just so sexy). I also couldn’t live without my friends, family and my fiancé.

11. What is Ali McGregor’s best party trick? 
My falsetto orgasm always goes down well (I can assure you in no way was that pun intended). I can also fit my entire fist into my mouth, but I am yet to find a place for that little trick in our show.

12. Finally, what makes you, break into a smile, and crack up with laughter? 
Coming home, and then so many things and people. But my co-star, Saxon accidentally getting hit in the balls with a chair during his interpretive dance number made for the biggest belly laugh last year.

Ali McGregor’s Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night

Melbourne Town Hall (Supper Room) |  Cnr Swanston & Collins Sts, Melbourne
Dates: 2 - 26 April
Times: Thu-Sat 11pm, Sun 10pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Prices: Full $25, Concession $20
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013 & at the door


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