Festival Theatre, Sat Jun 7
Four boys… well, actually, four rather good-looking men: Michael Falzon (We Will Rock You/Rock Of Ages), Ben Mingay (Wonderland/An Officer And A Gentleman), Matt Lee (So You Think You Can Dance/Mary Poppins) and Luke Kennedy (The Voice/The Ten Tenors) are the four friends who make up the debonair, innuendo-fuelled Swing On This. The world premier of this show saw a near-packed Festival Theatre – hardly surprising; the stand-alone talent of these charming leading men and the promise of an evening of the well-swung classics and some fabulous interpretations of a few more-modern tunes was enough to entice even the shyest ‘virgins of swing’ into their rather public parlour!
From Nina Simone’s Feeling Good – revitalised by Michael Bublé – to their own special dedication to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, us and themselves, we were treated to a cocktail of smooth segues, cheeky comebacks, shiny shoes, cool choreography and suave suits. But enough of the alliterations about these fantastically fine fellows [okay, just one more], the 18-piece Adelaide Art Orchestra, a well-stocked on-stage bar, three tenors and a bass-baritone were the perfect ingredients to create what was nothing short of a fantastic night of music.
From Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and Ray Charles, all those loved classics pleased the eager crowds, and each of the boys had their special moment: Mingay’s version of Cab Calloway’s Minnie The Moocher had the audience singing along, Falzon oozed charm with Sinatra’s I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Kennedy shone through Wonderwall (Oasis) had his three teasing compadres not turning their chairs for him – The Voice-style, but Lee’s Mr Bojangles – complete with tap dance and spot light – was a stand-out moment for me and one that would have made Sammy Davis Jr proud. I had no idea Matt Lee could sing so well!
The boys had definitely warmed up by the second act and special guest appearance from Cabaret Festival Artistic Director Kate Ceberano saw not only a fabulous take on Tainted Love with the quartet, but a breast-nuzzle from Mingay that took her by surprise but barely phase the inner flirt of Ceberano as she swooned through Something Stupid with the boys – complete with cheat notes on her feather fan.
Yet, for all the classics, it was the newly swung Aussie medley of New Sensation, Chocolate Cake and Pressure Down that helped to complete an already fantastic set. The finale of For Once In My Life and That’s Life led the boys into their encore – without leaving the stage – of the ultimate swing classics New York, New York and My Way.
The polish is still drying on their impromptu interactions with each other but that, too, will soon shine as bright as their gleaming black shoes. Suave and cheeky, gorgeous and oh-so talented; this may have been the first show of Swing On This, but it definitely won’t be their last. Loved it!
by Catherine Blanch