Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, Sat 20 Jun
What better way to bring Barry Humphries’ Adelaide Cabaret Festival to an end than to see the man himself as Sir Les Patterson? The first thing you notice on entering the theatre is that patrons in the front three rows have been issued with bright red ponchos – spit protection. And so the laughs begin!
This variety program with Sir Les hosting a selection of acts from the Festival begins with a beautiful version of The Man I Love performed by Ali McGregor. Then the man himself arrives, escorted by his glittering female entourage, and proceeds to deliver his politically-incorrect schtick, delighting and appalling his audience simultaneously. Sir Les singing Kris Kristofferson is entertaining but hardly a great musical moment.
Ali McGregor returns for two more songs, including a sensational version of INXS’ Never Tear Us Apart. Amelia Ryan sparkles during her first song but, in the context of the evening, her second seems surplus to requirement. Conversely, it takes Trevor Ashley until his second song to set the stage alight. The SongBirds are delightful, and Lady Rizo demonstrates why she has become such a star of the cabaret circuit. All acts are backed by the Adelaide Art Orchestra, who once again prove to be able to deliver whatever is asked of them with consummate ease. Up in the Dress Circle the sound is crystal clear.
But it is Sir Les that everyone has come to see, and whenever he appears on stage his cheeky grin and wayward wit draw you in. Time may be marching on for Sir Les, but you wouldn’t know it from tonight’s performance. As a final parting gift Sir Les drags out one of his own, Poofters In The Arts, which still manages to be offensive after all these years. On the whole, a very nice night’s entertainment. Thanks Barry!