For 62 years, Carlotta has entertained Australia in her own unique way. Now, at 78 years young, she is hanging up the sequins, but not before giving Adelaide one final chance to see her perform.
Carlotta began her career as an original member of Sydney’s Kings Cross Les Girls cabaret show. Carlotta rose through the ranks and eventually became the show’s compere and its most famous member. Carlotta’s gender reassignment surgery in the early 1970s was not the first procedure in Australia, but due to her celebrity status, it quickly drew publicity. Carlotta has always wanted to be a voice for those in the LGBTQIA+ who don’t have a voice or can’t be heard.
Thanks to COVID, her farewell Adelaide appearance has had many delays, but finally, this Saturday, October 2, Carlotta will be gracing the Regal Theatre stage for her final two Adelaide performances.
“I’m doing more farewell shows than Johnny Farnham! I’ll need a walker on stage if they go on any longer,” Carlotta cackled when I recently spoke with her.
After entertaining the masses for years, I was curious to find out why Carlotta has decided to retire from the performing scene.
“I’ve just turned 78, so I think it’s time. I’ve been doing this for 62 years. I’ve had a great career – I can’t complain really. I’ve had loyal followers. I make a joke in the show that I don’t have cars in the carpark at my shows, I have walking frames.”
With such an expansive career filled with many, many memorable moments, I expected Carlotta to have difficulty pinpointing her favourite moment of her career. It was a surprise when she jumped in quickly with an answer.
“Beauty and The Beast – I was on that for over 8 years. One of the highlights of my career was doing that show with the late Stan Zemanek. It was a building block for me also in developing the way I talk to audiences. I could answer people’s problems and issues, it was such a great building block.”
This Saturday Carlotta will be performing her farewell show, The Party’s Over at the Regal Theatre.
“I’m so looking forward to performing in that theatre. Adelaide has always been so good to me. I first went to Adelaide in the 80s, and I’ve been coming back to perform on and off since then.
“I’ve gone overboard with my costumes for this show; they are fabulous. It’s going to be a fun night. With all this COVID business, we all need a nice night out and to have some fun together. This is my way of saying thank you for all the support over the last 62 years. It’s going to be sad when I get to my final show.”
Carlotta will be joined by her dear friend and former Les Girl, Vonni, and internationally acclaimed cabaret performer and Carlotta’s musical director, Michael Griffiths.
“Michael Griffiths has been a wonderful support for my career, especially with my one-woman shows. I would have never dreamt of doing them 5 years ago. And Vonni – I’m so excited to have her doing a guest spot. She’s excited, my goodness is she! She will probably need a truck to bring all her costumes in.”
Carlotta’s final Adelaide appearance is being produced by Roulette Shows, with special thanks to Kathryn McGowan and Markus Hamence.
“Kathryn and Markus texted me the other day and asked if I wanted anything… I told them a bowl of water to soak my feet in when I get off the stage!”
Carlotta’s The Party’s Over will be playing at The Regal Theatre for two shows only: Saturday October 2 at 2.30pm and 8pm. Tickets are selling fast, with some seating options already sold out. To book, visit https://www.trybooking.com/BQDPM or www.rouletteshows.com.au
Interview by Ben Stefanoff