June 26, 2010

Campbell’s Cabaret ends with a bang

Filed under: 2010,Archive,Cabaret

June 26, 2010

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2010
until June 26.

Stephen Schwartz and Friends
June 23.

Newley Discovered
Hugh Sheridan
June 24

Caroline O’Connor: A Musical Life
June 26

Dunstan Playhouse
Adelaide Festival Centre.

The tenth Adelaide Cabaret Festival has closed on some high notes and some big numbers. In his second year as Artistic Director David Campbell has further boosted the reputation and the reach of this highly successful winter solstice event. With record attendances and sell-out shows, it has not only captured  the lucrative silver dollar of the older crowd, keen to hear the hallowed  tunes of the Great American Songbook and the vibrant melodies of pre-Beatle pop, but a younger, smart set drawn to the kind of neo-retro Broadway style embodied by Campbell himself.

Last year saw some extraordinary performers – most memorably New York luminary, Bernadette Peters.  Someone last year wittily observed that David  Campbell had got out his little black book and phoned everyone he knew. Well, apparently not, because there were still plenty more surprises for this year.

Notable among them was the performance, for one night only, by the American composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz, whose extraordinary success on Broadway spans from Godspell and Pippin in the early 70s to the mega-hit Wicked which has irresistibly cast its spell, especially over young audiences, since it first appeared in 2003. An amiable and modest man on stage, he played Chanson from The Baker’s Wife and explained the genesis of The Wizard and I while young women squealed at the very mention of Wicked.

His Q and A with David Campbell proved fascinating and he looked on warmly while a range of talents, including David Harris, US singer Michael Rose and West End star Carrie Rawlings, performed his impressively crafted and beguiling works. Among many highlights were Harris’s Corner of the Sky from Pippin, and Broadway favourite Liz Calloway – Defying Gravity in every way imaginable.

There can be few women performers in this country who can match the versatile Caroline O’Connor. Her musical life has taken her from Adelaide’s northern suburbs to the top of the international music theatre tree. Her set was a charming mix of droll comedy and dazzling performance – Roxanne, Cool, De-Lovely and All that Jazz. Her band was great –Daniel Edmonds on piano, husband Barrie Shaw on reeds. And the renditions of Garland and Piaf were over the rainbow.

Among the many bright young neo-retro stylists at the festival, Hugh Sheridan is surely the brightest. Well known from TV’s Packed to the Rafters, he is an extraordinary live performer. His portrait of raffish UK singer /composer, Anthony Newley is deft, poignant, witty and splendidly sung. While Dean Bryant ably directed the musicians, Sheridan showcased the songs as if newly minted. One from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – (I’ve Got a) Golden Ticket – could be referring to Hugh Sheridan himself.

Murray Bramwell

“Campbell’s Cabaret ends with a bang” The Australian, June 28, p.17.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment