Hans let loosen from Adelaide's Weimar Room to wow America's Got Talent show in 2018
Matt Gilberton created the Hans character from the Berlin Cabaret at the Weimar Room in Hindley Street, Adelaide.
Adelaide's fake-German trailblazing cabaret star Hans reached the finals of America's Got Talent in 2018. Hans, as a camp German accordion player, has been the mega reality TV show's most successful Australian entrant.
Hans is the outrageous alter ego of Matt Gilbertson, an entertainment writer and regular act at the Adelaide Fringe festival and took his show Like A German at the Edinburgh Fringe festival. Hans –"international superstar, sex symbol, accordionist, home wrecker, Madonna fan"– began an America’s Got Talent performance with a traditional accordion accompaniment as he descended from the ceiling of Hollywood's Dolby Theatre, surrounded by fake snow. He quickly ditched the instrument, launching into a typically kitsch rendition of the hit song “Spice Up Your Life” in front of a judging panel that included former Spice Girl Mel B.The performance was replete with sequins, fireworks and backing dancers, and Hans wearing his trademark feathered Tyrolean hat.
Busking at age 19 in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall with pop songs accompanies by accordian, Gilberton was “discovered” by Catherine Campbell, who played Greta in the Berlin Cabaret in the Weimar Room in Hindley Street. Not only could Gilberton play traditional German tunes that fitted into the show, he was happy to became Hans in leidenhosen. Like Campell, and unlike their contemporaries, Gilberton was a South of Music and Spice Girls-obsessed child of the 1990s who wanted to be living in sleazy 1920s Germany – behind the guise of ridiculous makeup and fishnet stockings.
Gilberton’s equal recall of pop culture and songs from past eras added to the shaping of the Hans character that he continued even after the Weimar Room closed in 2005. Among Gilbertson’s and Hans’s biggest fans has been Adelaide TV entertainer Anne “Willsy” Wills. Also a close friend, Wills buys him bithday eye shadow and eye lashes – and all his fishnet stockings.