Presented by Peter Combe Music P/L
Date Reviewed: 7 March 2020
The anticipation for Peter Combe’s 2020 Fringe show Brush your Hair with a Toothbrush was strong for his opening performance. Whilst the children in the audience were keen to see this show, it was clear that it was their parents who were there to re-live their childhood memories and witness the magic that is Peter Combe once again. Full disclosure, this was the case for me!
For many of us, the catalogue of Peter Combe’s songs were a staple part of our upbringing in the 1980s and 1990s. I have very vivid memories of attending countless Peter Combe concerts as a child with him performing with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, or singing along in the car to his cassettes (kids, ask your parents what a cassette is) on family trips. His hits, such as Mr Clickety Cane, Spaghetti Bolognaise, News Paper Mamma and Juicy, Juicy Green Grass have stood the test of time, with their timeless lyrics and themes of everyday life. Peter could be considered the founding father for groups such as the Wiggles and High-5. His interactive song-writing skills are brilliant, especially when you incorporate things kids do, eat and play with all the time.
Peter’s latest Fringe production, Brush Your Hair With A Toothbrush, opens with a new-ish number to his repertoire before he launches into hit after hit. This show has everything you have come to expect from a Peter Combe show – silly walks, funny voices, jokes for the young and old, and classic hits. Nothing has changed about Peter over the years. His voice is still as melodic as it was when I was younger. Peter keeps the pace of the show moving, and with such a diverse age of the audience, it doesn’t allow any of them to lose focus.
Peter is joined with his long-time keyboardist, Phil Cunneen, and one of Theatre Bugs’ performance troupes. Even though Cunneen was fighting a cold, he brought his usual flair and improvisational skills (especially in solos during the up-tempo numbers). The long-time partnership and musical bond between Combe and Cunneen is very clear. The two musically breathe together. Cunneen knows what Combe will do at any point of the performance, and is able to support him in such a way that it brings that extra magical element to their live shows.
Theatre Bugs’ performance, whilst not as polished as I’ve come to expect from this well-established Adelaide performing arts company, still added to the show, with dance routines, colourful costumes and back-up vocals.
Whether you are young or old, it is well worth the family outing to see the master of children’s entertainment work his magic at this year’s Fringe Festival.
Reviewed by Ben Stefanoff
Rating out of 5: 4.5
Venue: Corona Theatre – Garden of Unearthly Delights
Season: 14 & 15 March 2020 2pm and 3.30pm both days
Duration: 55 mins