Shôn Dale-Jones is a master story-teller. His one man show, The Duke, is an impressive, multilayered piece, with an appeal that lies in the simplicity of the performer’s approach.

Essentially a personal recount of how this show came about, Dale-Jones is seated throughout the performance, using only his expressive voice and a few sound tricks to engage his audience.

He takes some care in setting up the narrative, rewarding with a thought-provoking tale that never fails to entertain.

the_duke_adelaide_festival_largeDale-Jones is concerned about the refugee crisis and uses The Duke to gently engage us on the issue without ever being didactic about it. Throughout the performance, he uses occasional asides to reference the issue, providing a poignant contrast against his own priorities. It proves to be a very effective way of tackling this hugely complex problem.

With an affable and charismatic persona, we are easily drawn into the tale, connecting to both the personal and global aspects of it. This is a narrative related with warmth and humour.

While the Palais might not seem the obvious location for a one man theatre show, it really works very well. The backdrop of the River Torrens as the sun sets on a balmy evening adds to the overall magic of the piece.

The final performance of The Duke is 7:45 tonight at the Riverbank Palais. Buy tickets here.

Reviewed by Matthew Trainor