Cabaret Festival

Interview: Jane Watt – Taking aim with Musical Bang Bang at the Cabaret Festival

Jane Watt is bringing Musical Bang Bang to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival – and with this cast, you don’t want to miss it!

The 2024 Adelaide Cabaret Festival opens this week with a program packed full of tasty morsels – there really is something for everyone! Artistic director Virginia Gay has curated a sensational program that highlights a cross section of the world of cabaret.

One of these shows is the hilarious Musical Bang Bang. It is a never-before-seen live theatre spectacular that shoots from the hip without a script in sight. Led by actor-comedians Jane Watt and Rob Johnson, they create a show entirely on the spot.

Jane Watt is an actor, writer and comedian who starred in the award winning independent feature film The Greenhouse and The War Changed Us. Jane’s most recent theatre credits include Gypsy, Spamalot and Godspell. Recently, Jane spoke to Glam Adelaide about Musical Bang Bang and shared what led her to pursue a career in acting and writing.

“When I’m asked this I always say that, unfortunately, there is no real reason. I grew up on a farm in remote New South Wales. For some reason, I think when I found out that the people on TV were real people, I suddenly decided that I wanted to do that. Ever since I was little, I wanted to act. When I went to boarding school I started doing acting lessons, singing lessons and dance lessons. But I dropped them all within six months because I was like, ‘Oh, it’s too late for me. Everyone else is already better.’ All through high school these were still my favourite subjects and where I got my best grades. After school, I traveled for a year and a half before going to Sydney Uni, where I did my first ever play with the uni drama society and then I did my first ever musical. I started auditioning for drama schools and got into WAAPA. That was essentially what did it for me; getting into one of those schools really kind of set me on a path to be able to pursue it professionally.”

We asked Jane how the concept of Musical Bang Bang came about.

“Rob and I went to Sydney Uni together – we met doing musicals back in the day. When I graduated drama school, I came back and got back into improv where Rob and I would perform together. Then I got cast in my first musicals, but I still really loved improv. Improv really is heavily set in the comedy world. None of my acting friends did improv, and none of the theatre-going audiences saw a lot of live improv. 

“I started this show called Bang Bang Rodeo, which played on the sets in theatres. This particular show didn’t include singing, it was just like doing long form improv on the sets of theatres. Over time, Rob and I started to look at ways we could incorporate improv and musical theatre. We did our first show, and it sold out overnight – obviously, because we had an insane cast, with Julia Zemiro and Virginia Gay amongst the cast. It was and still is such a joyful show.”

Joining Jane and Rob for the Adelaide show will be Victoria Falconer, Julia Zemiro, Tom Cardy, Orya Golgowsky and the Cabaret Festival artistic director, Virginia Gay.

The chaos of Musical Bang Bang rampages into the Adelaide Cabaret Festival for two nights only.

“It is a joyful, playful show that is also extremely funny and filled with people who are at the top of their craft.The cast we have in Adelaide for Musical Bang Bang are all at the top of their game. They are all brilliant performers and they are so quick on their feet. We are lucky to have a team who are exceptionally skilled in performance and improv joining us for the Cabaret Festival. Audiences are in for a real treat.”

Musical Bang Bang
Friday 14th & Saturday 15th June at 7.00pm
The Banquet Room – Adelaide Festival Centre 

Photo credit: Robert Catto

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