Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 9 June 2018
It’s no wonder the Family Gala has been a great favourite for the past few years. It was a riot of music, songs, dance and amazing tricks with hoops on roller skates plus a juggling bear and that was just the first 3 acts!
Cabaret Festival Artistic Director Ali McGregor hosted the performance in a costume made of bin bags and stuffed koalas. On a stage covered in junk she managed to find an old car seat to watch the other performers between her own great song, and dance, numbers.
Anna Lumb did amazing tricks, both on and off roller skates, managing to peel and eat – well mostly eat – a banana while spinning a hula hoop around her neck. We saw Brushnev the Bear (aka Davey Sampfrod) do some incredible juggling and in a later appearance he set 12 plates spinning on poles. To the delight of the many children in the audience he came off stage and sat in the front row eating honey while the plates stopped spinning and broke into bits when they crashed to the stage.
Christina Bianco is in a class of her own. Seemingly effortlessly, from singing as Judy Garland she moves to Cher, Christina Aguilera, Bernadette Peters, Celine Dion and more. And in each incarnation her tone is as clear as a bell – what a talent.
Another fabulous talent on show was Adelaide based multi-instrumentalist, composer and beatboxer Adam Page. He began by collecting sounds from the audience and built an incredible multi-instrumental looping performance. Once again, the children were beside themselves hearing the sounds Page had recorded being used in a fantastic piece of highly original music.
The wonderful musicians deserve a mention too: Mark Ferguson on piano; Jarrad Payne on drums; Bonnie Aue on bass; and Tom Pulford on clarinet and baritone sax.
Ali McGregor’s own performance and links between acts are also worthy of praise. She did a wonderful job in encouraging the audience to get up and dance, or at least move in their seats even though she must have been melting in her bin bags and koala jacket.
It was a wonderful afternoon and it’s just a shame that there was only 1 performance.
Reviewed by Jan Kershaw
Rating out of 5: 5