Hans (AKA Matt Gilbertson) sure knows how to work a crowd. He has that rare, innate ability to connect with an audience in a very real way, feeding off them and making the whole show an interactive, energetic affair. The moments of spontaneity make for a genuninely appealing and dynamic performance.
The large upstairs hall of the German Club was bursting at the seams, the sold out crowd a testimony to the enthusiastic following that Gilbertson has amassed through more than ten years of hard work in the Adelaide cabaret and media scene. It’s fantastic that a South Australian performer can create such energy in the room, particularly when we have just been spoilt with two and half weeks of cabaret performers from around the globe (although, to be fair, Hans is a German superstar). The Hans phenomenon is compelling evidence of why we should support home-grown talent.
This popularity was, in fact, the show’s only problem, with more people crammed into the venue than there were seats, leaving some patrons standing, with others perched on makeshift seating at the back of the long hall.
The audience was quite a cross section, but all came expecting a good time, something that Hans has a talent for delivering. He sings, twerks, jokes and displays his talent on both the accordion and piano, making this two hours of great fun; by the time the show ends with ‘Proud Mary’ everyone is up on their feet, dancing and singing along.
The show itself was a pleasing mix of songs and banter, with Gilbertson adeptly backed by his musicians, The Ungrateful Bastards, and dancers, The Lucky Bitches. There was even a guest appearance from another Adelaide showbiz icon, Anne Wills, who sang a duet with Hans, reprising the chemistry the pair shared in his Fringe show earlier in the year.
Many of the night’s songs were cabaret re-workings of modern pop and hip-hop tunes, plus a few cabaret standards thrown in, often delivered with a German twist. You’ve never really appreciated Kylie until you’ve heard her sung in Hans’ native tongue.
Adding to the spectacle, and in a nice nod to the surroundings, we were treated to some slap dancing courtesy of the German Club’s Bund Der Bayern just before the interval.
After a stein break, the fun continued with more theatrics, hilarity and dance routines accompanied by the sizzling Lucky Bitches and some unsuspecting audience members.
The best moments of the show came with Gilbertson’s crowd banter, freely firing off quick-witted barbs that brought the haus down.
Hans’ Haus Party was a great night out. Next time he does a show, get a ticket and get there early; although be mindful that the closer you are to the front, the more likely you’ll end up in the show.
Reviewed by Matthew Trainor
Photo pilfered from Hans’ Facebook page