No Plain Jane

Theatre reviews and musings (mostly) from Adelaide

Tag: Mark Nadler

Breifs: A Cabaret Festival Wrap-Up

It seems time got away from me during the Adelaide Cabaret Festival!  I meant to be a lot more active in my writing, but life got in the way, and then this amazing opportunity came up and took out a slab of time.  So!  For the things that escaped my blog in the three weeks, we have today’s quick catch up.

After his fantastic opening night, Nadler continued his crazy antics in the piano bar.  I have had my fill of Somewhere Over The Rainbow for quite some time, but The Magnets certainly did a fantastic rendition.  Caught up with Adhocracy I didn’t see a lot on the opening weekend, but I did get to Ansuya Nathan’s Long Live The King which was a fine show marred by some terrible sound issues.

Nadler’s show proper of the festival was Mark Nadler’s Crazy 1961.  The most interesting part of the show was learning how all these historical events were linked at the same time.  I was surprised that I knew more of the history of the year than the music, and I wasn’t surprised that three of the four songs I recognised were from a musical (Carousel), a movie (Breakfast At Tiffany’s), and a movie musical (101 Dalmatians).  It was great to see Nadler in a different element, and a little more subdued than the Hootenanny (and wearing a suit and drinking water!), but then to see that same joy and energy come out when he truly got to pound away at the piano, and some craziness come out when he performed the top 50 songs of the year in five minutes.

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In Brief: Adelaide Cabaret Festival Opening 2011

As per usual (well, as much as twice can be considered usual), the high sheen, glitz, glamour, and product placement of the 2011 Adelaide Cabaret Festival Variety Gala was overshadowed by the under-rehearsed, over-enthusiastic insanity of Mark Nadler’s Broadway Hootenanny. 

While the Festival Centre stage gave way to the (considerably thinned out) Adelaide Art Orchestra and some of the largest voices of the festival, it’s disappointing that as a format it really doesn’t leave much room for what is my favourite part of cabaret, the connection the performer forms with their audience, and the stories they intersperse between the songs.  Here, singers are invited onstage to sing their song: one short performance and little else.   Consequently, the performer which had the greatest opportunity to shine was emerging cabaret artist Gillian Cosgriff, with a piece by Simon Taylor entitled The Song Song, which gave Cosgriff a true opportunity to talk to her audience.

But any fears of not getting to know your performers are not necessary in the Piano Bar.  As Nadler frantically plays the piano, he brings up any performer he can find.  On opening night, we were treated to bubbleologist Dr Froth, David Daniel Boys, Nadler’s “future employer” Kate Ceberano, Carrie Rawlings, Mitchell Butel, and a line up of dancers featuring a very shocked yours truly.

Nadler’s energy is insatiable, his performers brilliant, and the love which pounds through the Piano Bar, packed to the rafters with not a spare chair in sight for the many standing or sitting on the floor, is a wonder to behold.  While the Gala is fun for its introduction to the festival, it doesn’t stand an iota of a chance standing next to the Hootenanny.

Mark Nadler’s Broadway Hootenanny continues tonight and Sunday, 9:45pm in the Piano Bar, free.  The Adelaide Cabaret Festival runs to June 25.  Click here for more information.

For all my cabaret festival reviews, go here.

2010, You’ve Been Good To Me

A Thank You, and the obligatory Best Of Worst Of lists

To everyone who has supported me and my blog and my other writing this year: thank you.  This year has been truly magnificent, and getting so much respect for my writing has played no small part in that.  When I decided to not pursue my Honours degree I knew I was making the right choice; I could have never grasped just how right that choice was.  To everyone who has read, commented, subscribed, or talked to me about something I’ve written, you blow my mind.   To the companies and artists in particular who have taken me on as part of the community, in my strange hybrid of administrator / writer / reviewer / blogger / fan, I am eternally grateful.

Even those of you who have given me bad feedback, the overestimation of the impact of this blog warms my cockles.  Those of you who got here by searching for naked pictures of actors or Plain Janes, you creep me out a little and don’t get my thanks, sorry.

After much hemming and hawing over how (and if) to do a Best/Worst of The Year, I eventually decided to just go for the traditional top and bottom five.   Not necessarily the best and the worst, but in a completely subjective analysis my favourites and my biggest disappointments.  I loved 54 of the 88 productions I saw, and most of the rest leaned towards the love over the hate side, so it’s been a pretty fine year.

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Review: Mark Nadler’s Broadway Hootenanny

Mark Nadler has been the ultimate star of this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival.  With ten shows over two and a half weeks, the piano-pounding, tap-dancing, guest-staring craziness of the Broadway Hootenanny is an almost indescribable experience  – it has taken me six shows to get to the point when I am writing this version of a review, and many other versions have passed me by.

Aww, he looks so normal. Looks can fool.

Nadler has this undeniable crazy charm, which leads to some of the best one-liners you’ll ever hear, evoking peels of laughter: that is, when you’re not sitting there absolutely gob-smacked and in shock at what he just said.  Occasionally completely overstepping the line, more often just not quite thinking things through, the Hootenanny is not one for the faint of heart.  And the easily embarrassed?  Step to the rear.  Nadler is not above audience participation; rather, he relishes in talking with, and yes, making fun of his audience.  My heart skipped a couple of beats the other night just when he was talking to a woman at the table next to me with the same name!  Perhaps that is a sign I should avoid sitting at the front tables, but how to resist being that close to the insane action?

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