been | Velvet + The Sound of Falling Stars

Where do I begin with such a superbly theatrical and musically packed evening ….. ? One which took me from the bright hedonistic lights of the disco era – a’la Studio 54, to the beautiful yet melancholy crooning of musical heroes now past …

The Rangatira balcony of the Q-Theatre stage provided the perfect spot to appreciate an evening of fabulously retro sounds and an array of gymnastic talent as witnessed through the night’s show and winner of the Adelaide Advertiser Best of Fringe 2016 and the Bank of South Australia’s Pick of the Fringe 2016 – ‘Velvet’.

I loved the raised DJ Booth and the cool and perfectly suited attitude of it’s resident DJ, Joe Accaria, who took the audience through a ‘Boogie Wonderland’.

The drumming and percussion skills of the mix-master, as well as the acrobatic display of a very toned and skilled Mirko Kockenberger was impressive and boosted me out of my otherwise sombre mood, and that was only within the first ten minutes!

With the presence of renowned Australian music legend, Marcia Hines, a true disco diva owned the stage, with amazing soul and star power from an equally talented ensemble consisting of; rising Australian star Tom Oliver, aerialist Emma Goh, a gorgeous display of muscles (Stephen Williams) soul sisters Kaylah Attard and Rechelle Mansour, and not to forget my personal highlight, the delightfully flamboyant hula master Craig Reid.

Velvet was a perfectly polished disco extravaganza of powerful nightclub ballads, a journey of a who’s who of 1970’s dance hedonism featuring; Gloria Gaynor, “If you could read my mind”,  a group effort of the classic It’s Raining Men’ – to an unexpected acoustic act of an altogether different pace, with Tom Oliver in fantastic stage dress and a ukulele version of ‘Stayin Alive’.

‘Last Dance’ was the perfect score to conclude this wonderful show of glitter and glamour.  An energetic and marvellous fusion of dance, disco and gymnastics, ‘Velvet’ is a wonderful parade of Cabaret.

After such an entertaining display I was not 100% certain that my enjoyment could be surpassed. But the next show proved me wrong and on a major scale too …

‘The Sound of Falling Stars’,  performed within the tête-à-tête of the Auckland Town Hall, was hands-down one of the most unexpected and awe-inspiring performances of the season and had me mesmerized throughout the entire evening.

The unassuming musical genius of Cameron Goodall (Sydney Theatre Company’s Lion King) personifies a plethora of musical legends gone before us.  Taking the audience on a musical journey that transpired through the decades.

Marking the tone of the show with a very believable characterization of Elvis ‘The Pelvis’ – Cameron Goodall and creative director Robyn Archer put together a show that was incredibly smart, well-researched and narrated in a manner so unique.

Cameron had outstanding support from George on accordion and from keyboardist Enio Pozzebon, whose passion for real music was evident from the expression on their faces and faultless instrumentalism.

From the blue-grass/country of Hank Williams to the Neapolitan classic tune ‘O Solo Mio’, transitioning through to soul icons Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye; then to a complete juxtaposition of rock gods; Jim Morrison who noticeably influenced his formative Michael Hutchence, Kurt Cobain and even portraying the anarchic punk Sid Vicious.

So many more figures in musical history, that I cannot name all,  but with each one, he immerses himself with such honesty, depth and appreciation that was truly remarkable.

His rendition of Tim Buckley’s ‘Song to the Siren’ so cleverly intertwined with his equally musically talented son Jeff, was hauntingly beautiful.

Cameron Goodall provides the audience with accounts of each artist’s inevitable fate – all chronicled so informatively, whilst seductively sashaying between musical genre; country, soul, rock and even a crooning Frank Sinatra – his version of ‘I did it my way ‘summarizing a magical and truly moving performance that truly left me touched and spellbound.

A definite must-see this Auckland Live International Cabaret Season.  5 Stars *****