ArtSpace, Thu 18 Jun
Lionel Bart was an amazing composer. Unable to read or write music and never formally trained, he composed some of the most famous music of our time, including the hugely successful stage show Oliver! Phil Scott’s one-man show is packed full of Bart’s incredible stream of songs, and the intriguing stories from his colourful life.
We hear about Bart’s lavish life-style, and prolific partying with the likes of Noel Coward, The Rolling Stones, Keith Moon, Rudolph Nureyev, Judy Garland and even Princess Margaret.
Phil presents Bart as a vigorous, energetic ‘how’s-ya-farver’ kind of guy, and was pushing a little too hard in the opening ten minutes, but settled into his character and brought him to life throughout the rest of this highly entertaining and skilful show. Phil Scott is a gorgeous pianist and his playing is lavish and masterful. He sings well and with gusto in the styles suited to Bart’s compositions and has done a wonderful job in co-creating this tribute to one of the world’s great musical writers.
Phil delighted us with surprise songs like Living Doll – Cliff Richard’s first big hit – From Russia With Love from the second James Bond film, Tommy Steele’s Little White Bull, as well as many of the marvellous songs we know from Oliver!
Each song was embellished with terrific anecdotes about its inspiration and the endless stream of famous people who appeared in Bart’s world. It was truly fascinating. I would have loved to see a little more emotional content in the journey of the man himself as we heard about some of the harder parts of his life, just a pause, or a breath to give more access to the man himself. But this is a very entertaining show and a must-see for all who love the music of Lionel Bart.
Phil Scott performs Reviewing The Situation at ArtSpace, Adelaide Festival Centre, at various times until Sat 20 Jun.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Image courtesy of Grant Sparkes Carroll