Kultour is a national organisation committed to advancing cultural diversity in the arts in Australia.
Kultour is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its art funding and advisory body.
A story of love, music, defiance
After months on the road, Café Rebetika! wound up its 2011 Australian tour with a sell out season at the Sydney Opera House. Congratulations to the cast and crew on a sensational 2011 season.
Jennifer Vuletic, is startlingly good as the smart, passionate refugee, Areti. … not only compelling dramatically, but her singing voice is beautiful, tinged with all the necessary pathos the rebetika blues demands...Cafe Rebetika! is a substantial production which I found moving.
Jeanti St Clair, ABC North Coast
Café Rebetika! is an epic story of the heart; a passionate and uplifting theatre production which tells a dramatic story set in the slums of 1930’s urban Greece during the rise of rebetika, the “Greek blues”. Cabaret, music, theatre and dance unite in this new production set in the exotic and gutsy rebetika sub-culture. Born out of outcast despair, the men and women of rebetika create a utopia of acceptance, respect and defiance.
Set in a hashden, musicians, anarchists, refugees, Communists, prostitutes and manges (tough guys who live by a strict moral code) gather. The characters share their passion for life, their love of music and their need to dance. They have bonded as a family in this time of economic hardship and turmoil. Faced with the destruction of their “home” and their way of live, their bonds are severely tested but their spirit remains unbroken - for some, even in death.
At the centre of the story is the manga Stavrakas played by award-winning actor Tony Nikolakopoulos and Areti played by music theatre star, Jennifer Vuletic. As their love story unravels, Starvrakas is confronted with a moral crisis and the limitations of his iron clad ethical code.
Directed by Stephen Lloyd Helper, written by Stephen Lloyd Helper and Thomas Papathanassiou and developed with Rebeteki. Tony Award winning lighting designer, Nigel Levings, leads the design team. Café Rebetika! is performed in English with authentic rebetika songs in Greek, accompanied with English subtitles.
The other extraordinary actors in the cast are Thomas Papathanassiou, Lucy Najm, Alex Blias, Sophia Katos, and Michael Kostohilis, and are supported by the internationally acclaimed band Rebetiki – Musical Direction (Argyris Argyropoulos, Achilles Yiangoullis, Takis Dimitriu, Tony Iliou, Paddy Montgomery, Luke Plumb)
2011 NATIONAL TOUR DATES
Lismore City Hall – NORPA
Sensational! One of the best things I have seen in a long long time. It should play the world. – Paul Petran, Music Deli, ABC Radio National, May 15, 2009
DON’T MISS! The Melbourne Herald Sun, April 25, 2009
CAFÉ REBETIKA is an ambitious undertaking – it is a drama in the truest sense of the word – it is a comedy and a tragedy both, and it’s extremely good. The playing (by Rebetiki) is ridiculously good… there are truly toe-tapping numbers throughout. The costume design by Adrienne Chisholm is stunning, Bill Buckley’s set is perfect…Amelia Christo has one of those divine voices you could listen to for hours, she is a powerhouse in this production (and) delivers a flawless performance…Tony Nikolakopoulos’ performance is compelling and filled with strength…Steven Mouzakis is brilliant as the perpetually stoned Yiorgos. Peter Stefanou and Katerina Kotsonis deliver wonderful, strong performances... This play deserves a large audience. It is about as original as they come. - Simmone Michelle-Wells, Australian Stage, April 27, 2009
HELPER has achieved something in CAFÉ REBETIKA! that will move you in a profound manner. The music will resonate well after the performance has ended. CAFÉ REBETIKA! is a great production. - Chris Fotinopoulos, Neos Kosmos, April 27, 2009
The darkly beautiful songs of rebetika tell the raw and often bawdy hard-luck stories of out-cast people in turbulent times. The show vividly captures the characters at the heart of the Greek blues – drug addicts, prostitutes, anarchists, refugees, prisoners, Communists, drifters and ‘‘mangas’’. - Maria Bervanakis, Melbourne Leader, April 22, 2009
ONLINE REVIEW AND FEATURES
House of blues and bouzouki - The Sydney Morning Herald - 1 May 2011
Stories set to a soundtrack of the soul - The Canberra Times - 8 April 2011
Rebetika Expresses Many Facets of Refugee Experience - The Age - 3 May, 2009
A Commanding Presence - Neos Kosmos - April 27, 2009
Cafe Rebetika - Australian Stage - April 27, 2009
Manges Behaving Badly - The Age - April 27, 2009
The 2011 National Tour of Cafe Rebetika! is presented by Kultour (an initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts) in association with The Follies Company. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. Kultour acknowledges the support of Casula Powerhouse (Kultour Company Member). Kultour acknowledges the generous support of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) whose season of Café Rebetika! was cancelled due to flood damage.