The trials and tribulations of turning 30 are made light of, with song and dance in an out-of-this-world confessional – quite literally. Strap yourselves in and follow Lachlan MacLeod and Simon Abrahams as they embark on an extra-terrestrial journey that chronicles the 29.5 year planetary orbit of Saturn that they liken to the ripening of their 30-year existence.
So, Simon, in one hyper-intelligent, super-witty, impossibly concise sentence describe your show. (No pressure.)
Eeek. Here goes: Saturn Returns is a comedy cabaret confessional about coming of age and coming to terms with turning thirty when the planets haven't aligned quite the way you've planned...
Although you have a long history as a performer, is cabaret a relatively new thing for you? Many people will recognise you as former executive producer at Polyglot, so is this a symptom of your own Saturn's Return, from arts admin into cabaret act?
With ageing comes wisdom and with wisdom comes self-understanding, with self-understanding comes the realisation that when it comes to acting, I'm pretty good at pretending to be me. The best thing about cabaret is being able to be a slightly scripted, stylised, shinier, more impressive version of myself. I've always maintained a performance practice alongside my producing work but a shift to cabaret has definitely been part of my own Saturn Returns. Lachlan has worked as an actor, puppeteer and singer so he's totally comfortable on this turf.
Would you call Lachlan Generation Y?
He's totally Gen Y. Free and easy and ready to go-with-the-flow. I'm in that awkward X-Y cusp. A whole generation who don't quite belong. The forgotten people. So yeah – Lachlan and I are totally the opposite in personality but thankfully we both grew up in an age of Beverley Hills 90210 so there are some things that unite multiple generations together, and Donna Martin Graduates might just be it.
What was the inspiration for this show?
Lachlan and I have worked together for years, touring the world and performing together everywhere from the New York International Fringe Festival to the Sydney Opera House to the National Theatre in London. We decided it was time to develop our own project based around our own particular skills and personalities. Saturn Returns was the obvious place to start. Saturn takes 29.5 years to orbit the sun, and between Lachlan and I, that's currently our average age – one of us on either side of the Big Three Oh. We understand the traumas of turning 30 – the lack of resolution, the irrational feelings of failed plans and changed ideals and generally realising that life didn't turn out quite the way we planned it. It's the perfect fodder for a bunch of novelty comedy songs. We bashed out a few ideas and before we knew it, a full show was born.
Is there an actual album that has been produced from this material?
Yes, we're putting the final touches on it now – there's ten original songs in the show, with an album to follow.
Many people, not only those who put credence in astrology recognise the significance of that 29-30 time of life. What is it about that time in one's life?
It's quite structural. It's a time of big decisions – major career pushes, marriages, mortgages, children – there's decisions that need to be made at this age which can't be un-made. It's pretty serious fork in the road stuff. But it's mostly in our heads and completely irrational and really we just need to get on with it and live our lives. Or write a comedy show about it. One way or the other.
How do you feel about astrology more generally? Garbage, gospel, or just a good read?
A little from column A, a little from column B, mostly column C.
Pluto – was it a mistake to drop the house of creation and destruction just because of a mere "scientific consensus", or was it just dragging the rest down?
Pluto gets a whole song in the show – 'What If I'm Pluto?'. How can they just decide it's not a planet anymore? Downgraded to basic non-existance. A shooting star, a rogue satellite. Too small to be a planet... They even call it a "dwarf planet". If I was a dwarf I'd be furious. First they relegate you to being cast as munchkins and mini mes forever, but then to make you not exist at all? No respect, those astronomer bastards. If Pluto's not a planet then what else isn't true? Does nothing exist anymore? DO YOU SEE WHY I'M HAVING AN EXISTENTIAL CRISIS?! Fuck you postmodernism. No, really...