Kurt Phelan is one very talented man who sure knows how to engage an audience. His semi-autobiographical show at La Boheme for the Cabaret Fringe is fantastic entertainment. A polished piece of comedy, confession and song, it wouldn’t be out of place in the CabFest itself; but with a distinctly cheeky sense of humour and a pleasantly loose vibe, the show works very well in this fringe setting; a real asset to the program.
It’s a pleasure to spend an hour or so with Phelan, who commands the stage with great charisma, relating anecdotes from his life in deft comic style while also singing some fantastic tunes. He is a gifted raconteur, with a strong feel for his audience.
An experienced performer in stage musicals, both here and internationally, Phelan has a terrific voice that is well suited to the chosen material. But the thing that’s makes the show really refreshing, is that he’s not afraid to subvert the genre with great comic effect. His take on the Les Miserables film adaptation, for instance, is one of many highlights.
Despite such moments of irreverence and his familiar style, this is a well constructed, polished show with an effective balance of light and shade.
With only a short season here in Adelaide before he tours the show elsewhere (including New York), be sure to snap up a ticket and enjoy some quality cabaret.
Phelan Groovy is on at La Boheme until Saturday. For details click here.
4 1/2 stars
Reviewed by Matthew Trainor