Space Theatre, Mon Jun 9
Entertainment guru and professional schmooze, Nelson Aspen charmed Adelaide Cabaret Festival audiences with his much loved brand of Hollywood cheese. Weaving his way through the audience singing Good Morning, Good Morning, Aspen opened his show paying homage to his long association with Channel 7’s Sunrise, interspersing the music with the chatty banter that would continue throughout the evening. He quickly set out to challenge the audience to ‘stump’ him by calling out celebrity names he has never met, interviewed or worked with in a game he called ‘The 2 Degrees of Separation of Nelson Aspen!’ Returning to the game throughout the night provided an opportunity for Aspen to ‘name drop’ like no one else can and it quickly became apparent that finding someone in Hollywood that he doesn’t know was almost impossible.
Describing himself as a ‘frustrated singer’, Aspen asks his audience, tongue-in-cheek, not to judge his singing prowess. Whilst his voice lacks power it is nicely toned and perfectly sweet, fitting effortlessly within the range of songs he shared with the crowd. Music choices were interesting, from Makin’ Whoopee to Herb The Verb (who could forget their first school play?) and The Morning After – yet all were delivered with his trademark grin and infectious enthusiasm. Of course this is Nelson Aspen and he couldn’t help but bring a little Hooray For Hollywood into the room: sharing glimpses of his attachment to a variety of movies and sitcoms he loved growing up and breaking into song with tunes from Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie and The Flintstones to name a few.
A special moment was provided when Aspen invited Frank Ford – Founding Chair of both the Adelaide Cabaret and Fringe Festivals – to the stage simply to thank the man who made it all possible. Another highlight was Aspen’s take on I’ve Been Everywhere, Man showcasing his comedic talent and ensuring the crowd were enjoying every minute of his performance. He closed the show on a more personal note allowing audiences a peek into his ‘real’ persona by admitting to a touch of homesickness via Billy Joel’s New York State Of Mind.
Nelson Aspen showed exactly why he is so popular with Australian audiences – he was witty, likeable and simply so damn nice it was impossible not to get caught up in the delight of meeting this ‘Tinsel Town Celebrity’.
by Rosie van Heerde