After seeing the professional production of The Phantom Of The Opera at the Adelaide Festival Theatre, 9 year old Gawler boy, Daniel Koek, decided that a career as a musical theatre performer was for him. He fell in love with musicals, and with his cabaret show Bringing Him Home With His West End Story, Adelaide audiences (even the men) are getting the chance to fall in love with this now international superstar – and it’s a chance not to be missed!
Charming, personable and handsome Koek walks on stage, utters “Hello, Adelaide” and without seemingly taking a breath, launches into a powerhouse rendition of a Phantom Of The Opera medley. This local boy made incredibly good has returned home with a BANG!!
This show is basically Koek’s life story up til now. It is about a young man who had a dream, knew what he wanted and went for it. He has played on London’s West End, Broadway and the Sydney Opera House with the likes of Bernadette Peters and Michael Crawford, and starring in such shows as the 50th Anniversary production of West Side Story, Chess, and South Pacific (both the Broadway production and the Australian tour).
His latest accomplishment, which stopped him coming to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in 2013, has been playing Jean Valjean (one of the youngest performers to do so) in London’s West End production of Les Miserables (hence the rather clever title).
With all his accomplishments and incredibly powerful and beautiful voice, Koek is delightfully unassuming. He alerts us to the fact that trying to make it in musical theatre doesn’t just happen: there are hard knocks and lots of periods of unemployment, but all the while we are witnessing the joy of his perseverance and his obvious love of performing.
He also has an obvious love for his hometown as well – and don’t we love him all the more for it – with his constant endearing remarks about his mother and even mentioning her homemade chicken loaf and gravy. Koek is the metro sexual’s metro sexual!
If him performing with a great five piece band led by musical director, Greg Arrowsmith is not enough, Koek brings special guest Michaela Burger (Adelaide Cab Fest’s Exposing Edith) on to do a couple of incredibly beautiful duets with. Burger and Koek happened to be two of three Adelaide students studying musical theatre in London at the same school.
The entire 70 minutes just fly by with some great moments happening, but two highlights are definitely Koek’s brilliant, emotion charged Bring Him Home and his wonderful version of another Adelaide boy made good, Guy Sebastian’s version of Climb Every Mountain.
Thank you, Barry Humphries for bringing Daniel Koek home – he needs to visit more often!
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Rating (out of 5): 5
Venue: Festival Theatre Stage Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: 13 – 14 June 2015
Duration: 70 mins
Tickets: $39.90 – $49.90
Bookings: Book online through www.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au or phone BASS on 131 246