Presented by the Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Reviewed Sun 20th June 2010
Venue: Festival Theatre Stage, Adelaide Festival Centre
Duration:1hr (went at least 80 mins)
Bookings: BASS 131 241 or http://www.bass.net.au
David Hobson pointed out, repeatedly, that he was unsure why he was invited to perform in cabaret as he does not see himself as a cabaret performer. That neatly explains the title of his show. He is, of course, best known as an operatic tenor, but we find that there is more his musical career than that. The band arrived on stage and began to play. Hobson’s voice was then heard from offstage singing the aria Che farò senza Euridice? (What shall I do without Euridice?), but in the French version from Gluck’s revision of his opera twelve years after his Italian version, J’ai perdu mon Eurydice (I have lost my Euridice), from Orfeo ed Euridice/Orphée et Eurydice. He quickly appeared onstage to segue into Ennio Moricone’s theme from The Mission. He moved on then to Una Furtiva Lagrima (A furtive tear) from Donizetti’s L’elisir d’Amore (Elixir of Love).
His superb operatic tenor voice clearly pleased his many fans in the audience and it is easy to see why he has become a matinee idol in the world of opera.
So far, there was nothing unexpected, but this was soon to change. He went on to tell of his childhood and early ambitions and of how he wrote a rock opera based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, singing a song that he wrote for that work. He then recounts his early encounters with musical theatre, a lead up to Fagin’s comic song, I’m Reviewing the Situation, from Oliver. Along the way we found that his chats between songs were filled with digressions, asides and anecdotes, delivered with a smile and a laugh that endeared him to the audience.
A quick change of pace came next as he moved to selections from his new CD of songs from the British Isles, The Enchanted Way. The first was Raglan Road and then one in Welsh, with another quick change of direction to the Beatles number, Across the Universe. This was immediately followed by another Beatles tune, Blackbird. Then he sang Superman, from Five for Fighting, and his own composition, Inside This Room.
Next was that favourite Irish song, She Moved Through the Fair, with his musical director, David Cameron, switching from piano and guitar to Sitar. Cameron was assisted in the concert by four of Adelaide’s many fine musicians, recruited from the Adelaide Art Orchestra. Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End of Love followed this, brining him to almost the end of his show.
He had already overrun his advertised one hour show by a full twenty minutes, by this time, and I had to leave to in order to get to my next review. Time management is obviously not one of his skills but, unfortunately, it is an important one to have when performing in a festival where patrons may be booked for several shows in an evening. As I made my exit I saw that he had picked up his guitar again and seemed to be embarking on another of his rambling chats. I am told that he went on considerably longer, performing two of Roy Orbison’s songs before leaving the stage, a bonus for those who were only seeing that one show and able to stay.
It was fascinating to see how Hobson could switch from full blown operatic tenor to balladeer with ease and he certainly showed that he can interpret show tunes, folk music and contemporary songs with the same skill that he has with opera. He is certainly a crowd pleaser.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor Glam Adelaide.