Produced by the team that brought us Fringe World sensation La Soirée, Club Swizzle is a new show for Perth audiences, bringing the best in cabaret, circus and comedy. The production, which opened at the Ice Cream Factory in Northbridge last week, is an absolute riot where the pre-show bar becomes the main stage for just under 2 hours of high energy entertainment.
Amy G is one of the Club Swizzle gang. A powerhouse on stage, Amy has so many talents – including one you probably won’t contemplate (but no spoilers here, you’ll have to see the show!) She’s a delight on stage and a delight to talk to so read on to hear from the woman herself.
Amy G in Club Swizzle, photo by Prudence Upton.
Official job title: I write Entertainer on my taxes, but depending on the day I might answer more specifically: Comedian, Singer, Actor, Writer, Performance Artist, or Clown.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? I’m pretty sure I wanted to do exactly what I’m doing, but I imagined it as being far more glamorous. Either that or an underwater scientist – like a chemist, in a bubble, underwater.
Tell us a bit about your career background and how you’ve come to where you are now:
I’ve been a touring performer for 18 years, in which I’ve played in over 40 countries, traveling up to 10 months out of the year. After theatre school, I came up in the downtown NY alt-cabaret scene of the 90s, producing and performing in variety shows, making theatre, films, and scoring occasional commercial gigs to pay the rent. I ran a speakeasy with improv comedy and jazz to fund my theatre company.
My comedy partner and I got a gig in the Caribbean on cruise ships, playing 22 characters a week and living below decks with all 44 of them, a hilariously schizoid existence. Then my next partner and I (as the Daredevil Opera Company) made pyrotechnic clown theatre that travelled the world – including to Edinburgh where I met the Swizzle/Soiree/LaClique crew, and to Australia for the first time – which was all the start of something very good that’s lasted at least til today. I went solo after a while and started touring with La Clique/La Soiree in 2006. I also hosted around the European circus theatre world with Palazzo, and have done 5 different solo shows around NY and the world.
Nowadays, I’m reaching back into the acting world and playing a lot of murderers and morally questionable CEOs for tv, film and commercial projects.
I’m a comedy gun for hire though usually, and besides performing also do consulting, directing, and writing. Mostly, I’m interested in flawed, ridiculous humans and how we can learn to take ourselves less seriously, and others more thoughtfully. And dogs, and birds, because they don’t seem to have that problem.
I understand you were inspired by your grandfather who was also a performer. Can you tell us about him?
My grandfather was an amateur vaudevillian – an orphaned kid that was taken in by the captain of a ship who was rarely around. He found a father figure in a local song and dance man who taught him the ropes. Grandpa Joe made his money working for the phone company, but played the ukulele, tap-danced, sang funny songs, told jokes, did acrobatics, trick diving, even canoe-racing. They called him The Little Giant. He lived to 95, and even through the Alzheimers, the rhythms of his schtick never failed him. Every time he gave you his coat and hat at the door he’d say, with the same staccato beat, “Be careful with that, kid, it’s gotta go back in the window tomorrow.”
From where else does inspiration strike?
I find the most material in my stupidest moments – times when my long-suffering husband calls me, AmyGenius. Likewise, my most humiliating experiences, when survival is all I can hope for – that’s rich ground. I’m such a try-hard, I never think of it at the time, but usually, there’s more gold in them valleys than the peaks.
Politics is my favorite sport to watch, with lots of characters and choices that are begging for ridicule. I like to instigate, where I see stagnation. “Jokes produce freedom, and freedom produces jokes.” John Paul Richter, 1804.
Who is Club Swizzle for?
Club Swizzle is for a lively, loose and louche crowd. And if you’re not that way walking in, be careful, we may liven, loosen, and louche you up by the end of the night.
What can Perth audiences expect from the show?
It’s a fast-paced, jaw-dropping mix of circus, comedy, music and dance. A mouth-watering, juicy cocktail of a show, with the burning rim of edgy, contemporary cabaret. La Soiree fans will not be disappointed. It’s a similar rhythm, but because it’s more of an ensemble show and features a live band, people leave dancing and laughing and feeling like they can fly. Or that could be the drugs.
The Swizzle stage is set. Photo by Jeffrey Feng.
I don’t want you to give away your acts, but can you give us a teaser in 5 words or less as to what you’ll be doing on stage?
Rollerskates, martinis, and kazoos.
What are you looking forward to doing if you get some down time in Perth between shows?
Beach, beach, beach, wine, beach, food, beach, wine, quokkas.
What do you recommend as a must do for our readers if they visit your hometown of Brooklyn?
Check out the live music scene, as there are so many astoundingly rocking bands playing every night in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick. Go in to any bar’s back room and take a risk, you’ll be rewarded. You might find comedy, drag, activism, or underground parties with all of the above and more. There’s a most hearteningly old school roller-skate club in a Salvation Army gym in Bed-Stuy, where people of every shape and color get down on quads. And Coney Island serves up a refreshing buffet of humanity on the boardwalk. Don’t expect beauty when you get to Brooklyn, you’re spoiled with that in Perth. Look for originality and verve, and you’ll fall in love on every corner. Amy G
Amy G in Club Swizzle. Photo by Prudence Upton.
Amy G’s rollerskating and kazoo playing talents are just a part of the massive Club Swizzle show. She’s joined by The Swizzle Boys – a bunch of acrobatic entertainers; Harlem’s singing and dancing sensation Dandy Wellington; the sexy, cigar smoking Yammel on the ring; burlesque/comedy babe Laurie Hagen; award winning cabaret star Reuben Kaye as host; not to mention a full live band. Club Swizzle runs until 25 February at the Ice Cream Factory. Tickets available through Fringe World here.