Mark Nadler: Crazy 1961 – Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2011

Presented by the v and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Reviewed Wednesday 15th June 2011

Venue: Banquet Room, Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Season: 6:30 Thursday 16th June 2011
Duration: 60 mins

Tickets: Premium $42/adult $32/conc $28
Bookings: BASS 131 241 or

If you have seen Mark Nadler’s late night Broadway Hootenanny shows in the Piano Bar then you were probably somewhere in the room last night, or already have tickets for the second show, and have no need to read this review. Adelaide has taken Nadler to its heart and his legion of fans would not dream of missing this opportunity to see more of him.

Mark Nadler was both conceived and born in 1961 and, in his 50th year, this performance is all about that momentous date. This, unlike his late shows where anything and everything might happen, is a carefully crafted, structured and scripted show, the sort of thing that he actually prefers to do. He looks back at that year, not only singing many of the songs, but also referring to many of the events that occurred. If all history lessons were this much fun, absenteeism in schools would be a thing of the past.

It was, incidentally, when John F. Kennedy was sworn in as president and another president, Barrack Obama, was born. Across the Atlantic a future princess, Lady Diana, was also born. It was the year that Crazy, the song in the show’s title, was first heard. Music was changing. The predominance of American rock ‘n’ roll, with artists like Elvis and Ray Charles, was about to be challenged by the British, with The Beatles making their first public appearance.

With consummate ease, Nadler weaves together all of these diverse elements with his own story and that of his parents, delivering facts and figures, singing the songs and injecting loads of humour. He has a medley of the top fifty hits of 1961 that he rattles off in only a few minutes, helping the audience to keep count as he does so. You must go, if just to hear that one.

He is ably assisted by a great four piece band, with drums, guitar, reeds and bass adding to his own astounding piano playing. Over the years, a few local musicians have become synonymous with the Festival, in demand by all of the visiting performers. First there was the Adelaide Art Orchestra, then that superb accompanist, Matthew Carey and, the latest on that list, the incredible bassist, Alana Dawes who, was part of this band.

You have one more chance to see this terrific performance tonight, if there are any tickets left. With Nadler’s popularity he should, perhaps, have had a few more shows added. Hurry to see Mr. Cabaret while you can.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.

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