[CABARET/Music ~ WORLD PREMIERE ~ NSW]
The Chamber at THE QUEENS, Sat 27 Feb.
After 35 years of a fearsome reputation while on stage, you’d think that even the most casual audience member would not be foolish enough to want to ‘join in’, while artist, painter, performer and former Doug Anthony All Star is doing a show. You’d think wrong, but more of that shortly.
Paul McDermott has joined forces with cabaret powerhouse Catherine Alcorn for a brief run at THE QUEENS. Let’s cut to the chase and say up front they are MAGNIFICENT! from Alcorn’s spine-tingling opener of Dog Days Are Over (Florence & The Machine), to Paul’s impressive beard, tight-as-a-drum band, everything was splendid. While Catherine’s songs were top shelf cabaret interpretations songs you know, in particular turning Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight into a smouldering Peggy Lee-squee Fever arrangement, Paul was performing a batch of new songs written in COVID lockdown. Not the most obvious avenue for entertainment, but it’s soon obvious Paul has turned it into a free-way of fun.
The Beach Boys’ vibe of Touchscreen sets the tone asking why people (especially in Adelaide) seem to not give a shit about the pandemic any more. It’s a summery, sing-a-long type tune that I was humming it all the way home. And it just wouldn’t be McDermott if he didn’t head into some murky waters; Living Alone (Isn’t Living) takes a step back from the DAAS song about necrophilia, but only a small one. He vamps on the end of this in a clearly unrehearsed way as guitar player Glenn Moorhouse is doubled over laughing.
Alcorn pays tribute to John Farnham’s backing singer Lisa Edwards with an hilarious (if a tad long) medley of Farnsey hits where the backing singers have very little to do. It’s around now a woman at the back has a few things to say. It’s a suicide mission. Paul stops talking and explains there is a reason the microphones are pointed at the performers and not to the audience. He dedicates the next song to her, with the lyrics “We love you, we love you, but can you just shut the fuck up?”. Maybe unsurprisingly, it’s called Song For The Karen.
Better Friends is peak McDermott – beautifully sung with three-part harmony in a song about there being ‘Nothing wrong with moving on and finding better friends’ as a relationship comes to its end. They see us out with a stunning When The War Is Over. An absolute joy and left me hungry for Paul’s other show which starts on Tuesday at Rhino Room.
Paul + Catherine SING TOGETHER continues at The Chamber at THE QUEENS from 6.30pm on Sun Feb 28.
Book at FringeTix on 1300 621 255 or or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.