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July 2, 2021
Review: Blood Brothers by The Princes Players at ANZAC Hall, Prince Alfred College
September 23, 2021

Review: Alan Cumming is Not Acting his Age at The Festival Theatre

When Scottish-American Renaissance man Alan Cumming agreed to become the 2021 Artistic Director of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival back in 2019, little did we know a pandemic named Rona was going to turn the world upside down and throw all plans for the arts world into a spin.

As our first international Artistic Director, the whole city waited with baited breath to see what Mr Cumming would bring to the table.

And what a banquet he served!

From unusual and unconventional to downright unforgettable, this year’s festival is truly one to remember.

Cumming has performed in concert halls across the globe; including the Sydney Opera House, the London Palladium, the Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall.

He’s played God, the Devil, Hitler, the Pope, a teleporting superhero, Hamlet, all the parts in MacBeth and of course the EmCee in Cabaret in the West End and on Broadway.

To spend an intimate evening with him, on the closing night of what I believe to be one of the best Cabaret Festivals yet, was an absolute privilege and honour.

The world premiere of his new cabaret show ‘Alan Cumming is Not Acting His Age’ was a night of story and song celebrating and exploring his puckish, eclectic spirit and joie de vivre.

A joyful and frisky exploration of that most communal of past times: aging!

Bounding onto the stage like a mischievous school boy, Cumming’s opening song ‘Alive’ had the audience already eating out of his hand. Looking around, the colossal crowd were elated to be in the company of a superstar. And the energy just grew vaster and more palpable as the performance went on.

His four piece band, three of them local and his Musical Director, the magnificent Henry Koperski, flew in with him from New York to deliver this playful, yet poignant show.

While the audience was abundant and the theatre whopping, the show did not lose its intimacy.

We were drawn into Cumming’s dazzling storytelling, overflowing with name dropping and unbelievable folklores and happenings (seriously, Emma Stone, Billie Jean King and Paul McCartney walk into a bar – you can’t make this stuff up!) that occurred in his infamous bar, Club Cumming, in the East Village in New York.

He stands upon the unembellished stage, raw and exposed, but charming, enthralling and charismatic, all at the same time. His stories through song so real, personal and soulful.

About his childhood, his beloved pooch and those he has lost.

And then in the next breath, he has the crowd doubled over in stitches with the tale of Florence Henderson (the mum from The Brady Bunch), vodka and an iron gut!

The wonderful and oh so clever Disney mash up was one of my favourites as he pulled a previous story he had told us, and skilfully worked it into the audience participation section of ‘Part of My World’ from The Little Mermaid.

His ability to merge banter and jest with sentiment, magnetism and melancholy all in the space of an hour and a half is miraculous and marvellous and I could honestly sit there all night and listen to the gleam of his voice and his never ending tall tales with celebrities.

I left feeling euphoric and inspired.

Wanting more; more stories, more songs, more Alan.

But the night could not go on forever, and I took with me what he does to act his age; never stop learning and never stop making friends.

Oh, and drink vodka and do sit ups.

So from all of Adelaide, Mr Cumming, good night sweet Prince.

 

Happy theatre travels…

Lia <3

Lia Loves
Lia Loves
Theatre. Dance. Fashion. Lifestyle. Follow her adventures as Adelaide's premier theatre buff, arts aficionado and fashion devotee!

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