Stuart Wagstaff did rap; Ian Roberts did high kicks. The Hats Off fundraising concert was always going to be entertaining; few expected it to be such a fantastic goddamn mindfuck.

The annual fundraiser of Oz Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights AIDS was a phenomenal success last Friday, with $20,000 raised for the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation. Simon Burke hosted and was in fine form, introducing a line-up of stunners. Nancye Hayes and Toni Lamond effortlessly swaggered through Move On from Chicago; Hayden Tee won even more fans playing a recovering show tune addict with the song Testimony and Peter Carroll gave a sublime rendition of Noel Coward’s Don’t Put Your Daughter On The Stage.

As is the way with such concerts, there was also the opportunity for plugs for other shows, in this case the upcoming musicals The Producers and The Republic Of Myopia. John Frost donated the raffle’s first prize, a trip for two to the opening night of the Melbourne premiere of The Producers, and rising star and cast member Chloe Dallimore ate up If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It. She has it, and she did. Tamsin Carroll, daughter of Peter, unveiled a Phil Scott track from the upcoming satirical musical The Republic Of Myopia (accompanied by Phil).

There was also a strong endorsement of new venue Kabarett Voltaire, as two future acts offered a taste of their talents. Natalie Gamsu delivered a strong and emotional rendition of Hot Gates and Melbourne cabaret newcomer Eddie Perfect performed his own song Some Of My Best Friends, a blend of pathos, parody and politics that got the crowd screaming.

The absolute highlight, however, was Stuart Wagstaff and Ian Roberts. Wagstaff sang a weird ditty called The Lavender Cowboy about a fey frontiersman, which wooed the crowd until the song’s oddly homophobic coda (which sadly dated the vaudevillian jingle). Then, he rapped a satire on the Australian rap scene, a performance that prompted Simon Burke to gasp that now he’d seen it all.

Then it was Ian’s turn, who joined fellow NIDA students in the Hooray For Hollywood number from their final year production. Roberts was only in the chorus, but all eyes were glued to his massive frame as he pranced around Broadway-style with enthusiasm and, given his bulk, considerable finesse. Hooray for Roberts.

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