Adelaide Entertainment Centre Arena Theatre, Sat 21 Sep.
Postmodern Jukebox began in Scott Bradlee’s basement – he had a vision for arranging popular contemporary songs to make them sound as though they were from the 1920s. It’s a brilliant idea, and the concept was backed by Bradlee’s social media acumen: he posted slick videos of performances on YouTube. It took off and, the next step was clear: worldwide domination.
The concept works remarkably well and it’s fascinating to see how a song can be transformed, and how adaptable many of the songs are. For instance, the snarly rap of Iggy Azalea’s Fancy translates surprisingly well. Lana Del Ray’s Young And Beautiful sounded like it could have come straight out of the 1920s. Bradlee and crew are savvy enough to give audiences what they crave: the first song was a cracking version of Jet’s Are You Gonna Be My Girl, and millennial favourite, Toto’s Africa hit the spot.
The Australian cast does not feature Scott Bradlee, but Casey Abrams as host and vocalist more than made up for his absence: Abrams was full of cheeky larrikin personality and brought plenty of humorous moments. His renditions of Radiohead’s Creep and Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Sweet Child Of Mine were highlights.
The cast was outstanding: Abram’s commented that this was all live music and ‘anything could happen’. There would be no auto-tune. The musicians and singers were exceptional – energetic and sharp. Demi Remick’s tap dancing was a delight; she tapped to everything from The Addams Family Theme to Uptown Funk and a Super Mario Brothers medley.
Unfortunately, the seating arrangements at The AEC Arena Theatre meant that most of the audience were on ground level, without any staggering of the seats. This meant that, unless you were tall, you had a view that was obstructed by many and various heads in front of you. The stage wasn’t high enough to mean that you could actually see it. This is a fatal flaw for a show like this: the venue just wasn’t suitable.
However, despite the seating issues, crowd was ecstatic and the show ended with an epic, chaotic encore rendition of Haddaway’s What Is Love? and a standing ovation.