Paul Capsis returns to The Maj for some healing cabaret magic


Western Australians will get to see the amazing Paul Capsis perform when he heads west for the Perth International Cabaret Festival this June.

The energetic performer has graced Perth audiences many times, but it’s been a few years since local audiences last got the chance to see him and he’s looking forward to being back on the stage at His Majesty’s Theatre with his show Up Close and Personal. 

For someone who thrives in being in front of an audience singing and sharing stories, the last two years have been an interesting time for Capsis, and he’s glad that the world, and theatres, are opening up again.

The recovery however is one he feels in a slow build rather than an immediate return to life as normal.

“I’m feeling better,” he says when we catch up on the phone. “Things started to open up a little bit, for me… this month, is the first month really where I have some work, I’ve got the Perth Cabaret Festival, and I’m doing a show for Vivid here in Sydney. I’ve been doing interesting things in Sydney, so I feel better.”

Capsis shares that last two and half years, which have been challenging for almost everyone, has put performers in an unusual space.

“For me, the thing is that what’s happened over the last two and a half years has had a kind of a long term effect. I think it seems there’s a strange feeling, a kind of just dreading, you know, what may come after what we’ve been through.”

“But I’m trying to be hopeful. I have good days and some bad days. But I think other performance artists, and pretty much most people who are in the theater world, or cabaret world, or music world, feel the same.”

“I think it’s a mistake to just pretend or or assume that everything is going to be fabulous again.” Capsis said describing the entertainment industry and slowly making a comeback.

“I think it’s a long road. Because it’s also affected how we feel about our work and how we work. It’s been such a long period of not doing your job, and then you have issues with confidence, you have issues with receiving information, when you do your research, and when you’re learning a song.”

“This is the longest period I’ve not gone overseas. I’m grateful that I have managed to go to Melbourne, which was really nice. I did a production of Tommy at the beginning of the year. The weather was beautiful there, and we’ve had endless rain in Sydney. So, being in Melbourne, where it was sunny, and doing a big show with lots of other people was wonderful, it was very healing.”

“It brought back a familiar feeling, a happy feeling, but then it goes really quick, the season wasn’t very long, and then you have to come back to reality. At that stage, Sydney was still coming out of a lockdown, and we just had endless rain, we just keep getting rain and rain.”

Capsis is famed for his ability to make the sun shine through the rain: reinterpreting songs, unlocking previously unappreciated tunes, and finding new meaning in words we’ve heard before. He says when it comes to choosing songs for his shows it’s the lyrics of the tune what he’s most drawn to.

“For me, it has to be firstly, the lyric. I have to connect to them, I have to in some way relate. I feel if I didn’t relate to it, I wouldn’t really be interested in singing it. Unless there’s a particular purpose.”

“There are songs that are kind of mindless, and you know, they’ve got great melodies, and they’re just silly, or they lift an audience when they are looking to have some fun.”

“But when I pick songs for my shows, mostly I go with the lyric.” Capsis said.

Paul Capsis plays His Majesty’s Theatre as part of the Perth International Cabaret Festival on 22-23 June. Tickets on sale now.

Graeme Watson

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