Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre for Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Reviewed 20 June 2019
Beginning the show, a la Sinatra, Campbell was on form with Come Fly With Me, telling his audience how great it was to be back in his hometown and at the Cabaret Festival which he loves. From his recent stage hit, Dream Lover, the show that told Bobby Darin’s life story, Campbell gave us a taste of the show with Mac the Knife, Dream Lover, Splish Splash and Multiplication, but the highlight of this section was the delivery of a song, supposedly sung at Robert Kennedy’s funeral and included in the show; it was an exquisite rendering of Who Can I Turn To.
Campbell was backed by a terrific nine-piece band, lead by talented pianist Jack Earle who worked with him on Dream Lover. I didn’t catch their names but the brass section was hot, a wizard of a drummer with strong guitar support. Along with the talented singer Josie Lane, Campbell fronted the band to present a wide variety of music. The big band sound of Louis Prima numbers and many well-known standards were spaced with stories of his early life in the northern suburbs, his early career and his family. He spoke of his father, even giving a good impression of Jimmy talking to John Buccino. His version of Buccino’s You Know Better Than I was spine tingling and after describing his children he dedicated Charles Aznavour’s She to his daughter Betty and his emotion touched the audience.
There were many other highlights; the Billy Joel song New York State of Mind; a fun version of Old Black Magic, all with his infectious enthusiasm. Of course, he had to visit the show that helped make him a hit, Shout! and another of his heroes, Johnny O’Keefe. Campbell ramped up the music and took the audience with him back to the loud and frantic world of Johnny. With the crowd clapping along and enjoying every minute it was a forgone conclusion that he would end with Shout! Just as it was certain he would get a standing ovation. This was a gathering of old friends, all of whom relate to the man on stage: he is one of us. Hope he comes back soon.
Rating out of 5: 5 stars
Reviewed by Fran Edwards
One Night Only – season ended