Artspace, Fri 16 Jun.
Grin is a wonderful double act featuring original material from Dusty Limits and his long-time collaborator Michael Roulston. The songs are dense with witty and dark lyricism, and reveal a perceptive take on life through the filters of honesty and satire.
Dusty would have us believe that life as we know it is not really for him – he finds it too hard and there is too much about life that disturbs him, but like many a great artist before him, he has taken his distaste for life and turned it into a thing of beauty. Dark and disturbing as life can be, there are moments where he represents life as something deeply poignant and quite moving.
A consummate performer, he looks delightful, and delivers amusing background tales about his life, family and the society he inhabits with a voice that is rich in intonation and nuance. Much of his vocal style is almost semi-spoken. He teases with occasional glimpses of a sweet vocal prowess that can effortlessly go high or low. Crisp, clear diction ensures we catch every syllable of the lyrical tsunami on topics bleak and dark, but he conveys a joy and appreciation of the irony of life with self-deprecation and a garrulous, beguiling charm.
Michael Roulston on piano is a star in his own right, but the balance between the two of them is intricate and well-honed. Roulston’s accompaniment is rich and elaborate, and together they deliver a body of work that is all class.
In true traditional cabaret style they lampoon much of what is wrong with stereotypes and public governance – the anti-gay lobby and the Catholic Church come in for some especially acerbic treatment. One is left with an appreciation of how wonderful it is that there are those who are willing to call out the shortcomings of society, and do it with a grace and charm and humour that is quite captivating.
Great songs, superb writing, wonderfully witty. Sometimes outrageous; often provocative; delicious throughout. Cabaret at its best.
Dusty Limits performs Grin at Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre, from 9.45pm until Sat 17 Jun.
Book at BASS on 131 246 or bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.