I remember first meeting Hans at the Weimer Room back in 2003; a tall, thin and lanky teenager who was the interval act and compere at the weekly cabaret shows that were hosted in the dingy, Berlin-esque bar.
He had a multitude of talent back then – all singing, all tapping, all accordion playing comedian, so it is hardly surprising he has reached the dizzying heights of Berlin boy wonder today.
One might call it a self-fulfilling prophecy, as he has always dubbed himself ‘an international superstar’ Manifestation at its finest!
Hans A Night at the Symph HONEY! marks his return to the stage since the dreaded C-word took hold of the arts world and spun it through the wringer.
But being the stalwarts that we are, we dusted ourselves off and prepared for retribution.
A what a night of reckoning it was!
The magnificent Thebby Theatre was electric – both literally and metaphorically – as the highly regarded 18-piece Adelaide Concert Orchestra, ahem, The Ungrateful Bastards Orchestra, took to the stage to rapturous applause.
Helmed by concert master Carolyn Lam and musical director Sean Timms, the orchestra were simply magnificent from first to last note – and there were many in-between!
The opening number, ‘As if we Never Said Goodbye’ was pure excellence – and when Hans made his debut, spot lit in one of the private balcony boxes – the crowd went wild!
Spanning fans that have followed his journey from his hometown in Germany [cough, cough] to others who were witnessing greatness for the first time – this over-the-top symphonic spectacular had the audience stepping into fantasy land and experiencing the Hans effect like never before!
From crazily impressive projections to explosive lighting and visual effects thanks to production team Novatech, sound designer Craig McCowat and lighting designer Jordan Scheer, no detail was missed in making this a show to remember.
As usual, Hans had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand from start to finish.
Showing off his incredible quick-wit from the second his sequin slip on hit that stage, poor Leanne in the VIP section was the butt of many jokes, along with other notable South Australians, politicians, sports stars [alive or otherwise] and priests.
The hilarious mock interviews projected across the huge cyc provided costume change time, but also gave us some comical content in the form of sponsor shoutouts and twitter clap backs.
His song list took us through the history of his life, beginning with ‘Confidence in Me’ from his favourite musical, The Sound of Music right through to the Aussie rock anthem ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?’ with some Madonna, Tina Turner and Kylie thrown in for good measure.
Hans showed us he’s not just a pretty face, but a classically trained pianist in his turn of Mozart’s Rondo All Turca to Flight of the Bumble Bee and a special, intoxicating, and enthralling arrangement of, wait for it, Chopsticks – all difficult pieces which he played ferociously and with playful banter in-between.
His incredible line-up of local singers and dancers were expertly directed by Adelaide choreographer to the stars, Martine Quigley – they looked and sounded fabulous, and lived up to their name, The Lucky Bitches.
With enough feathers, sequins and glitter to rival Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, they bumped and slithered and threw themselves at the dance routines with gusto.
Clever and charming, Hans truly is the consummate professional and supreme entertainer by the very definition of the word.
His cheeky, wicked, and perfectly, slightly improvised shows are loved by all, and if you don’t love him, you might just be taking life a little too seriously.
Talking to an arts identity after the show, we both decided that Hans should be recognised an Australian National Living Treasure…and as Hans himself said, Farnsy, Barnsey and Hansy…its definitely got a ring to it!
Reviewed on behalf of TheatreTravels.org – original article posted here