Olivia Newton-John – Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2011

Presented by the Adelaide Festival Centre and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Reviewed Saturday 11th June 2011

Venue: Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Season: concluded
Duration: 110 mins

Backed by the superb Adelaide Art Orchestra and her own small core of touring musicians and backing singers, Olivia Newton-John gave her fans a song filled evening to remember. As my guest remarked, it was one big hit number after another from start to finish. Looking as young as ever and stylishly dressed in not sop basic black she commanded the stage with ease as she went right back to the 1970s and made her way forward again through her entire career.

A more intimate moment was when her band closed in around her for a bracket of country numbers including Bob Dylan’s If Not for You, Dolly Parton’s Jolene , John Denver’s Country Road, and many more. Even Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which she referred to as her cabaret song, had a good airing.

The film Grease, naturally, could not possibly be overlooked and a major highlight of the concert was when she donned a leather jacket and David Campbell entered from the other side of the stage, similarly, attired to join her in a rendition of You’re the One That I Want that threatened to bring the roof down with the audience’s riotous cheering and applauding.

A high energy version of Xanadu was in there, of course, and she had the entire audience up on their feet joining in for Physical. In fact, the audience were up and down all night, as well as singing along with many of the songs. No wonder she needed to wind down from time to time with a cup of tea. There were also some of her own songs from more recent times, inspired by her triumph over breast cancer and her fund-raising efforts for that cause.

Then, as my guest had predicted early in the piece, she closed with Peter Allen’s I Honestly Love You, and that was always a rather safe bet. From the audience response at the end of this concert I am sure that they’d have happily kept her there all night and, if it had not been for other shows happening around the place, I suspect that she’d have tarried longer, too.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.

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