Andrew Finegan is many things: writer, performer, librarian. Adelaide Theatre Guide said his latest show is “original and witty… the audience roared with laughter.” You can catch it at this year’s Adelaide Fringe.
You’re about to do a Fringe show called Songs from the End of the World. How would you describe it?
It’s a geeky one-man song-cycle exploring the fate of humanity…
It’s cabaret in the sense that it’s in a small room and I’m singing original songs of a somewhat humorous and satirical nature on piano and ukulele – but not at the same time.
The songs are about society and our obsession with our own demise. We’re constantly reminded that the end of the world could come at any moment: predictions of rapture and Armageddon, the end of the Mayan calendar, interplanetary collisions, outbreaks of bird flu, swine flu and there could be another one at any moment… I’m hoping that it’s puppy flu – mostly because I’m a cat person.
The trailer suggests it involves zombies. Should people be scared?
It’s more “Shaun of the Dead” than “The Walking Dead”, so not overly scary, other than the odd comment about decapitation or evisceration.
The thing I love about the whole zombie genre is that it’s often used as a commentary on modern society, and whether we choose to take control of our fates, or give in and be a “zombie” like everybody else. That said, if you’re scared by pithy metaphors, then you should be afraid.
CABfringe – how would you explain it to someone who hasn’t heard of it? Have you been involved in previous years?
CABfringe is the cabaret program at La Boheme, which is an amazing little cocktail bar on Grote St. The first time I saw it I knew I wanted to perform there, which happened a few years ago with a previous show “Librarian Idol”. Back then they were just a venue, but now with the establishment of CABfringe, they’ve been doing a wonderful job of putting together a diverse program of cabaret acts with 23 different shows running over the festival period.
Would you say at this point we’re in the middle of a “cabaret renaissance”?
Definitely. I live in Melbourne where cabaret has been steadily on the rise over the past ten years, particularly with the Melbourne Cabaret Festival and the success of Australian cabaret performers like Tim Minchin and Eddie Perfect. And, of course, Adelaide has its cabaret festival, attracting world-class performers every year.
There have always been “musical comedy” acts, but I consider cabaret to be something different. It’s more than just a blend of music and jokes; there’s something intimate, theatrical, and daring – almost subversive – about cabaret. It makes you laugh, but also makes you think, and I think that’s what a lot of people want.
Any shows by other people you’re looking forward to checking out this year?
Too numerous to mention! However, two of my main interests are swing dancing and slam poetry, so I would definitely give a shout-out to two particular events: The folks at The Swing Sesh are running $10 dance classes on Mondays and Thursdays during the Fringe, and they have a performance evening on the 17th of March.
Another event worth checking out is “2880 Minutes Late” which is a blend of physical theatre and spoken word by Finn O’Branagain, who is a wonderful slam poet and playwright (and person).
By day you’re a librarian (among other things), true? How’s that?
Yes, it’s true, I went to uni, wrote essays on information management, and one day they said, “Congratulations, here’s a piece of paper. Go be a librarian now.”
What’s your ultimate job? (and BTW, librarian would be a perfectly acceptable answer. Just asking, y’know, in case…)
I think my ultimate job would be a travel writer – I’ve been itching to go travelling lately. Then again, I’d probably miss all my writing deadlines because I was too busy eating street food and exploring temples.
How would you react to discovering the bowler hat you’ve just put on is filled with cottage cheese?
I’d open a box of water crackers, slice up some carrot and celery sticks, go to an art exhibition opening, and place it all out on a table. I’d probably also buy a new hat.
What’s some of the music you’re enjoying right now?
Right now I’ve been rediscovering my love for Jonathan Coulton – especially after his cover of Sir Mixalot’s “Baby got back” was massacred on a recent episode of Glee. He is a nerdy musical and lyrical genius who has also written one of the best songs about zombies ever (Re: Your Brains).
It depends on what book I’m reading at the time. Right now I’m reading “Life in Outer Space” by Melissa Keil, which as a super-nerdy, young adult romance with plenty of references to horror films and World of Warcraft is ticking all of my “favourite” boxes. I’m kinda glad that the whole vampire teen romance thing has finally blown over.
Where can people buy tix to your show? And can they follow you online?
You can buy tickets on the Adelaide Fringe website.
I’m also on Facebook and Twitter if you want to find me – my twitter handle is @librarianidol, although there’s a librarian conference on in Sydney at the moment, so lately my feed has been full of comments about the state of the library industry, which you might find a bit dull. Or insightful – most of my non-librarian friends have been amazed at the drama and schisms that occur in libraryland.
I’ve also recently thrown together a trailer for “Songs from the End of the World” on YouTube.