The hills are alive with the sound of … Hans

Hans (pictured) will bring Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music to Sydney in August. Photo: supplied.

He counts Heidi Klum and Mel B among his admirers – now, ‘German’ cabaret star, Hans, is set to win over some new fans when he hosts Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music at the Sydney Coliseum Theatre in Rooty Hill. Interview by Danny Waterson.

Editor’s note: Thursday, 15 July, 2021

Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music, hosted by Hans at the Sydney Coliseum Theatre, has been postponed.

The Sentinel advises readers to check details of all shows and events mentioned in the Sentinel, due to the current Covid-19-induced lockdown and uncertainties around the future situation.

The Hills are alive – or, more correctly, the Rooty Hills will be alive – with the sound of music, when everyone’s favourite ‘German’ cabaret star Hans hits town in August, hosting Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music at the Sydney Coliseum Theatre.

“You have given me my first joke of the night, why didn’t I think of that?” an excited Hans says.

Bringing one of the most popular musicals to the Coliseum stage, Hans tells the Sydney Sentinel over the phone from Adelaide that The Sound of Music is his favourite film ever.

“It’s like a safety blanket. It settles me down,” he says.

“While everyone was watching Tiger King during lockdown, I was watching The Sound of Music.”

For anyone not familiar with the legend of Hans, the outrageous and comical performer (real name Matt Gilbertson) has appeared in critically acclaimed cabaret shows, with his famous accordion, to sold-out venues in Australia and overseas in stage productions such as Viva Hans Vegas (2016), Mein Camp (2017) and If You Don’t Love Me … Leave! (2018).

In 2018, the colourful and proudly camp Hans found global fame, appearing on the top-rating US television program America’s Got Talent

“My cabaret shows are a little bit more grown-up, let me say that,” he laughs, of the America’s Got Talent experience.

Hans delivers a show-stopping performance on America’s Got Talent in 2018. Video: Talent Recap/YouTube.

According to his own biography, Hans is ‘Germany’s proudest export. An international superstar, sex symbol, accordionist and Berlin boy-wonder’ who is ‘boozier than Oktoberfest’ and has ‘more drive than a Volkswagen and … more sausage than a bratwurst convention’.

Why does this German wunderkind believe The Sound of Music still resonates with audiences across the world?

“Although it’s based on a true story, it looks like it could be a fantasy place, the settings. Salzburg just looks so beautiful. In Ballarat (the first show of this tour), seeing it on a giant screen again was something else,” he says. 

“The Baroness is really, really shady,” he adds. “Watching it now, as time goes on, there are so many funny asides, and one liners in it.”

Recalling his first Sound of Music memory, Hans says: “We had a VHS copy of it when I was very, very young, recorded from the television. It only started from when she sits on the pine cone, we missed the whole first and last sections.

“So the version I grew up with was quite abridged. It missed out on all the Nazi stuff, so I just thought it was a great movie about a puppet show,” he laughs.

The sing-a-long movie concept has proven popular in recent years, and Hans promises to bring his own touch of magic to the evening, adding: “This really is the show you can bring everybody to. You can bring the kids along, you can bring grandma along, you can bring all your drunken hens’ night girlfriends along. There is something for everybody. It really is a fun party night out.”

Promotional video for Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music hosted by Hans. Video: accordionhans/YouTube.

Speaking after the first sing-a-long in Ballarat, Hans says in his thick German accent: “I found the audience maybe a little bit shy at first, but once one person starts calling things out, by the end they were all screaming at the screen and getting more naughty as the night goes on.

“I get everybody in the mood before the show; we go through some of the songs, a warm-up. There’s about thirty to forty minutes of Hans. We have a costume parade, and everyone whose come dressed up gets on stage and shows it off, it’s a very fun night.”

Famous for his bedazzling and glittered spandex jumpsuits and costumes, I ask the fun and friendly Hans where he gets his costumes.

“My mother sews mine; she’s a real life Maria von Trapp. One of my favourite things to do with her is go to fabric shops with her and work out new costumes,” he reveals.

And will Hans’s infamous appendage, his popular accordion, play a role in the evening?

“If you ask nicely, if it’s one of the audience’s requests, potentially yes,” he replies with a cheeky laugh. 

Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music will be hosted by Hans at 7pm Saturday, 21 August at the Sydney Coliseum Theatre, Wests HQ, 33 Railway Street, Rooty Hill. Tickets (from $65) and further info available at www.sydneycoliseum.com.au/whats-on/sing-long-sound-music.

For more on Hans, visit https://hansofficial.com.