Paul Capsis is delightful. I’m speaking to him while he’s making lunch.
‘It’s a new thing for me,’ he laughs about his cooking. ‘I find it really relaxing. I mean who knew? I was never one of those people who cooked. But things are really expensive out there and when I cook at home I eat more vegetables and fruit.’
Capris has just finished a run with the musical Cabaret where, surprise surprise, the man famed for his ability to embody the spirit of women with such power and deliciousness was actually playing a man!
Like his enjoyment of cooking, that too came as a surprise!
‘I played a man, who knew! And who knew I would enjoy it so much!’
‘I am playing the MC in Cabaret, NOT Sally Bowles! This time last year I played Quentin Crisp, and then before that, Rumpelstilskin – I loved him; I just feel like I am playing all these gnarly old men!’
A Capsis performance is high end. He is a one-man protest who doesn’t know any other setting except full on.
‘Everything I do is physically demanding,’ says Capsis. But he doesn’t do anything special to prepare.
‘I used to be gym obsessed once,’ he laughs. ‘It seems to be a fashion for the homosexual to go to the gym to get the body amazing and be accepted. It’s brainwashing. And they ain’t got me! I don’t read magazines and I don’t watch TV that promotes that kind of stuff. It makes our lives so much harder than it needs to be. Why can’t we just accept ourselves. I mean who decided what we were meant to be? I think there are health benefits of the gym but it does take up a lot of time!’
In his show Addicted to the Nightlife Capsis sings his way through Patti Smith to Amy Winehouse to Janis to Judy Garland and beyond.
‘They just give so much,’ says Capsis of the singers, mainly women who are his muses. As for occupying the space every night with that kind of intensity, Capsis admits, ‘It’s draining… I don’t know how to do it! Even with Cabaret I was a wreck when that was finished.’
Capsis is not attracted to shows he describes as ‘froth and bubbles’. He is drawn to high energy, to darkness. ‘I like performers who have a lot of energy and who are really out there sexually, just being themselves. I am drawn to that myself!’
A show with Capsis is about him. His songs, his energy, and his incredible high-octane charisma. It’s no wonder he’s exhausted at the end of a show. There are no special effects. It’s just one man and a shitload of talent.
‘I am not a big technical performer,’ says Capsis. ‘I don’t carry big props; I let the songs do the work. And the lighting. It allows the audience to be part of it too. I have a fantastic piano player, Jeremy Brennan, whom I am working with; he is really inventive; he has great energy – he’s got energy to burn!’
So how is Capsis feeling about coming to the Brunswick Picture House for his show?
‘I am looking forward to singing songs and doing what the hell I want – me, a piano, and audience. It’s a lot of pressure. And it demands you are in the moment.’
He surely is that. Don’t miss a moment of Paul Capsis and Addicted to the Nightlife.
Sunday at the Brunswick Picture House at 6pm.
Tickets Adult $45; Concession $40 on brunswickpicturehouse.com.