The Famous Spiegeltent has touched down in St Kilda’s Luna Park for a line-up of music and adult entertainment, including gender transcendent diva, jazz singer, cabaret artiste Mama Alto.
Nestled in the heart of Melbourne’s iconic amusement park, The Famous Spiegeltent will deliver magic, music, thrills, and spills to audiences inside its vintage opulent setting.
We spoke with Mama Alto to find out more.
What does it mean to have these icons – Luna Park, the Famous Spiegeltent, Finucane & Smith, and yourself – together as part of Spiegel et Luna?
For our audience, and for our performers, this is somewhat of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with three legendary Melbourne icons – all historic, quirky, and carnivalesque – unite for the first time. Luna Park, Melbourne’s 105-year-old home of fun. The century old Spiegeltent, an antique European circus tent made of polished wood, brocaded velvet, bevelled mirrors, and stained glass windows. Finucane & Smith, legendary worldwide purveyors of provocative vaudeville variety shows. Oh, and then there’s little old me – a transgender jazz singer and cabaret artiste, utterly delighted in this fantabulous phantasmagoria.
How did you feel being asked to perform in such a world-renowned venue?
The Famous Spiegeltent is an entity and phenomenon in her own right. A ‘grand dame’ of the theatre, a jewel box for performances, it is far more than a tent. It’s a salon, it’s a cabaret club, it’s a dance hall. Marlene Dietrich and Edith Piaf have sung within its hand-made arena, and under the helm of David Bates The Famous Spiegeltent pioneered and lead the current worldwide renaissance of spiegeltents and the rebirth of postmodern variety. I am so immensely thrilled.
What can you tell us about the show you’re involved in?
We have angel chanteuses on the antique carousel! We have gothic monologues in the ghost train! We have showgirl showstoppers, dancing divas, and burlesque beauties on the venerated Spiegeltent stage. It will be an entire wonderland.
Will the Dance Hall Diva Carousel appeal to queer audiences in particular?
Finucane & Smith present alternate visions of what the world can, and should, be. The glowing potential for humanity when we open our hearts, embrace and celebrate difference, and so many of us in the company are queer. We wear it, and our hearts, on our sleeves – with pride. This show is about humanity, about community, and about empowerment.
What’s your favourite part of the show?
My favourite part of the show is seeing the audience’s faces transform. At the beginning of our evening together, you can see on people’s faces if they are tired, or sad, or frustrated, or worn out. And then, their faces change. Gradually, sometimes, but also suddenly sometimes! And by the end, they are laughing, smiling, holding hands. It’s so lovely to see the transformative power of art up close like that.
What message does having trans and gender diverse performers feature in such a large-scale event send?
We can never underestimate the power of visibility. It can change minds, it can break prejudices, and it can empower people who might see themselves represented for the first time. Seeing our people, our community, and people like us on stages has an immense power to build resilience, healing, and joy.
Moira Finucane’s Dance Hall Diva Carousel will run in The Famous Spiegeltent at Luna Park from October 10 – 13. For more information or to buy tickets, visit: lunapark.com.au/event/the-famous-spiegeltent-whats-on
Related reading: Gender diversity has always been here and always will be