Cabaret Festival

Cabaret Festival Review: Adelaide Tonight with Bob Downe and Willsy

An entertaining trip down memory lane, hosted by larger-than-life personalities Bob Downe and Willsy


Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre

Reviewed 11 June 2021

Fans of the old Channel 9 classic Adelaide Tonight will have a blast at this recreation hosted by Bob Downe and Anne ‘Willsy’ Wills. The audience are greeted by vintage TV advertisements for Snappy Tom and Savcol Tuna before the show starts, effectively setting up the atmosphere of nostalgia.

Bob Downe and Willsy kept the audience in stitches with their cheeky banter as they reminisced about each of their extensive careers in entertainment and the history of Adelaide Tonight, and brought plenty of sparkle (literally and figuratively) to the evening. It was truly an honour to see such seasoned performers strut their stuff.

This show runs for all three weekends of the Cabaret Festival, with a different lineup of performers gracing the stage each weekend. The opening weekend performers included Mama Alto, Michael Griffiths, and The Willsy Sisters (replacing Jan van de Stool, who was unable to travel from Melbourne for the Festival).

Is there anything quite like the transcendent vocals of Mama Alto? A picture of elegance and class, her silky jazz voice was reminiscent of the old school jazz ladies who stepped into jazz from their classical roots and brought purity and control to their sound.

Michael Griffiths brought his usual theatrical charm to the stage, taking over the piano for his numbers, which included the ever crowd-pleasing Don’t Cry Out Loud by Peter Allen.

Sue Wills joined her sister Anne to perform some 60s pop numbers as the Willsy Sisters, tunes they told us they had performed to troops during the Vietnam War. Despite self-deprecating jokes about their age, the pair have definitely still got it! They were so in sync with the blending of their harmonies and their movements it was akin to watching twins finish each others’ sentences. Sue has the same wicked sense of humour as her sister, and it was a treat to have her step in at the last minute after travel restrictions prevented Jan van de Stool from coming to Adelaide.

Of course, this hour of music wouldn’t be possible without the support of the smoking 4-piece jazz band led by talented guitarist Sam Leske. They flawlessly backed each number with style and Sam’s typical enthusiasm and energy.

This live version of Adelaide Tonight was an entertaining trip down memory lane, celebrating the rich history of performing arts and entertainment in Adelaide, and it would be well worth seeing this show with the brilliant lineup of performers that will be gracing the stage over the next few weeks.

Reviewed by Kristin Stefanoff
Twitter: @StefanoffK

Venue:  The Famous Spiegeltent, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season:  11 – 26 June 2021
Duration:  60min
Tickets:  $40 – $50

Rating out of 5: 5

#Adelaide #AdCabFest

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