Decade of dreaming of cabaret

Marisa Quigley will perform her show, Red Dress & the Sugar Man at Tyers Hall on Sunday, May 6. photograph supplied

Marisa Quigley will perform her show, Red Dress & the Sugar Man at Tyers Hall on Sunday, May 6. photograph supplied

Beechworth-based singer Marisa Quigley had only a vision, title and a vague storyline for a Tom Waits cabaret show for more than 10 years before she met guitarist Rudi Katterl who thought it would work with his one-act Patti Smith show.

"After 10 years of talking about it and dreaming about it ... I had three months to knuckle down and write which was exactly what I needed," Quigley said.

The product is called Red Dress & the Sugar Man, where Quigley's original narration weaves around the "dark and seedy" music of Tom Waits.

Now it has been to about 20 stages across the country and fortunately she can still say she is very passionate about her long-term dream show.

Much of the writing for the show was done in airplane cabins.

Equally, when Quigley was working in the coal industry west of Moranbah, Queensland she found the headspace to work on lyrics.

She said she would have a minute to write her ideas in her notebook while the truck was being loaded by the digger.

"The trucks we drove were about 90 tonnes and 150 tonnes ... they're like massive machines," she said.

"You just drive around very slowly. You might drive around in big circle that takes you 15-20 minutes and you drive around and around and around at 15 km/h."

"It was a great experience."

Quigley grew up in Darwin to sounds of '80s pop and pub rock until some colleagues at her work at a hotel played her the Waits album Nighthawks at the Diner.

It was her introductory to the imagery and Beat generation-style poetry she loved about his music.

"It focuses around two characters, Romeo and Rosie and ... kind of draws on the characterisation that [Waits] created in his work," she said.

She has already taken the show to both Adelaide and Melbourne Fringe festivals.

Red Dress & the Sugar Man is part of the 2018 Cafe Culture Series and will be presented by Gippsland Acoustic Music Club on Sunday, May 6 at Tyers Hall.

For more information visit musicclub.org.au.

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