In conversation with rising star Charlee Watt

If Charlee Watt is starting to look familiar to you, it could be because this young vocalist from Port Lincoln is “emerging” as “One to Watch”. Indeed, this week she was lauded in The Advertiser as a style icon for her fabulous poster image for her new Beating up The Beatles show.

Charlee Watt is back in Adelaide this winter with her Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival show, Beating up The Beatles, which premiered at Adelaide Fringe in February, then opened the SALT Festival in Port Lincoln in April. The show is currently being re-shaped for winter Cabaret audiences at the end of May to help Adelaideans twist and shout away the winter blues.

We sat down with 19-year-old Charlee ahead of the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival to hear about her upcoming performance.

Tell us about the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival this season?

Well, it is my first time at the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival which begins on Friday 24th May until Sunday 2nd June. There’s a massive program of events – something for everyone. I’m new to Cabaret Fringe and excited to be back on stage, but I’ve been attending the Adelaide Cabaret Festival since I was 11 when Ali McGregor and Eddie Perfect held the reins.

Cabaret is my favourite genre, and I was fortunate enough to be awarded the Nathaniel O’Brien Class of Cabaret scholarship when I was just 16 and in Year 11. I was blessed to work with Joanne Hartsone who has remained a supportive mentor and Rosie Hosking as a vocal coach. That Cabaret experience set me on the pathway of performance and truly that is all I want to do; sing every night.

I created my first Fringe show at the beginning of Year 12 which was a homage to the songs of Joni Mitchell and Carole King, and that experience of performing to sold out shows has cemented my plan to keep performing and to keep learning from others in the industry. I’m very grateful for the people in the industry who are supporting me as I make my way.

I’m currently busy re-writing my Fringe show to ensure it emits a true Cabaret vibe and also connects with where I am, only 19 and yet drawn to the music of the 60’s and 70’s.

When are you performing?

I will be returning to the beautiful ballroom at the magnificent Carclew on Montiefore Hill.

I’ve also been given a spot at a Cab Live event at Arthur’s Art Bar on Currie St on Saturday 25th of May. So, I will be accompanied by the talented Carole Young, and will sing a song or two from the show that will work for piano. The event is being hosted by the amazing “Leather Lungs” AKA, Jason Chaslands, and a whole host of burlesque and performance artists will be presenting tastes of their work there throughout the Festival.

Speaking of Tastes, I heard that you were at the very exclusive Airlines Tasting Australia event at Rumi on Louth Island last Saturday? Tell us more….

Yes, I was scouted for this event and got to perform there which was just amazing.

It is a stunning location and the weather was exceptional, as was the menu. I also got to talk about my show a little, so I hope that some of those people who were there come and see me do my thing and swing to The Beatles.

So, where and when can people see the show?

Carclew Ballroom, North Adelaide. I’m performing my Beating up The Beatles show on the last weekend of the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival, so Friday May 31st (only have some slight competition with the National Women’s Soccer Team, The Matilda’s who have scheduled an event at Adelaide Oval at the same time – so there goes the easy parking promise) and Saturday evening on the 1st June.

We have two sessions each night, starting at 6.00 until 7.00 and then 8.00 until 9.00 so we are hoping that people might like to come to the show, and then go out for dinner in the area afterwards or vice versa.

What can audiences expect on the night?

A great hour of entertainment. An opportunity to catch up with old friends and possibly make some new ones.

It is a family show. My Dad, Malcolm (who wasn’t named after the actual roadie of the Beatles but is working in that capacity), is generously offering a complimentary glass of wine to warm everyone up upon arrival so we are hoping for 4 great shows. My Mum, Kellie, is producing the show and will be greeting people and checking tickets, so that’s the start. 

Then they can expect a great show as we have a fabulous FAB4 band, all of whom have played the show before. The amazing David Goodwin is our Music Director and an absolute genius on the keys and has assisted in re-arranging several of the songs for the show.

I’m particularly proud of two of the songs we have worked on together, “I saw her standing there” and “She loves you” which we have really reinterpreted and I’m confident people may not have ever heard them sung this way before. I’m also in love with our interpretation of “Don’t let me down” which I was inspired to rearrange with David’s help in response to Davina and the Vagabonds who played at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival a few years ago and blew me away with their rendition of the Etta James classic “I’d rather go blind”. 

The music is awesome and the work of Christina Guala on Alto Saxaphone, Lewis Todd on Drums and James Ho on Bass just makes the music so incredible and I feel privileged to be able to sing these fabulous songs with this amazing band.

It is the perfect show to bring your parents to, plus Mother’s Day is coming up and it really would be a great gift to organise a date with your Mum – or anyone you love.

Beating up The Beatles is performing at the Ballroom at Carclew House on Friday 31st of May and Saturday 1st of June for Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival.

FIFTY+SA readers will receive a complimentary glass of wine on arrival.

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