Presented by Hans
Reviewed 16 February 2016
Like Las Vegas, Hans needs no introduction. The multi-faceted German entertainer who is a dab hand with the accordion has wowed national audiences for years. His latest show promises to conjure the best sides of Las Vegas. Eagerly zooming down its glittering passage, the ads for Viva Hans Vegas hint at tunes from Celine, Elton and Bette with a touch of Liberace thrown in. A more dazzling combination is unthinkable with Vegas glamour done on a budget the likes of Noarlunga Centre could only dream about. Unlike a recent touring Vegas show claiming to be ‘the ultimate Vegas experience’, Viva Hans Vegas provides more than cheap lip-service, giving a genuine feel for Vegas night-life in suitably bedazzling style.
The alter ego of multi-talented performer Matt Gilbertson, Hans bounded onto the stage like Liza Minelli from Cabaret. Delivering on the promise to bring some sparkle to Adelaide, Viva Hans Vegas didn’t disappoint. Almost like Vegas on Viagra, the one hour show was filled with sequins, glitter and lots of feather. Songs from Celine, Britney, Madonna, Kylie, et-al were all performed with Hans’ customary stylish wit and beguiling flair. It wasn’t a glorified karaoke-fest but a genuine tribute to artists who have recently re-built Vegas’ image from its once unsavoury reputation. Elvis and Barry Manilow were also referenced as well as many others in a solid and entertaining package of hilarity and music.
Aside from the tunes, the audience participation was high on Hans’ list. This is where Gilbertson really comes into his own as a performer. He easily draws the crowd into the mayhem ensuring they are enjoying proceedings just as much as he is. Australian audiences are perhaps one of the toughest in the world – they can spot a fake easily. Gilbertson isn’t that at all – his genuine enthusiasm for crafting a spectacular show was evident which everyone happily responded to. From a mock wedding to endless teasing of certain audience members, the variety presented kept the pace going without any dead spots. In many ways Gilbertson’s all-encompassing skills mirror that of famed local entertainer Peter Allen. Like Allen, he has the knack for doing everything well – from dancing, singing, comedy, music. Not many can carry all of these off successfully but Gilbertson does with ease. He’s certainly a pro (not an old one so I don’t risk Hans’ ire!) but he knows what works to keep things moving.
Backed by his strong band The Ungrateful Bastards, the luscious ladies of The Lucky Bitches and a pair of hunky boys, Hans continued to gyrate and croon whilst looking ravishing in sequin. Also helped by some amazing aerial acrobatics from another performer who dazzled during Hans’ costume changes, Viva Hans Vegas offered definite value for money. As Hans caressed the accordion keys like a Germanic Lolita singing myriad of pop classics, it was easy being transported back to another era. The confines of the always remarkable looking Spielgeltent added to this illusion as the audience laughed and cheered to his antics. Mention must go to the lighting and staging which was sublime, always capturing each moment perfectly, giving Viva Hans Vegas the expensive, glossy look it needed to make it truly shine.
Hans’s shows keep getting bigger and bolder. The wicked repartee, singing and humour continues to be refined to gain new fans. Gilbertson should be proud of his efforts and of those around him who have made Viva Hans Vegas another solid vehicle for his creation. Those wanting to be entertained with pure escapism need look no further than this show which is a sometimes salacious foray into the City of Sin with the cheeky glamour only Hans can provide.
Rating out of 5: 5
Reviewed by: Patrick Moore
Venue: Garden of Unearthly Delights – The Spiegeltent
Season: 16 February, 10 March & 12 March 2016
Duration: 60 mins.
Tickets: All tickets – $33
Bookings: Book online through the Adelaide Fringe website or phone Fringe HQ on 1300 621 255