Cabaret Fringe Ambassador Mikelangelo has been involved with a number of projects over his 25 year career, from the Balkan influenced gypsy sounds of the Black Sea Gentlemen to the western surf rock of The Tin Star. In what he billed as his first ‘best-of’ show, the intimacy of La Boheme offered the perfect setting for a solo Mikelangelo to showcase his back catalogue.

Starting with a ballad and then switching straight into a rockabilly number, the solo Mikelangelo exuded the energy of a band. With his nylon-stringed guitar he effortlessly played through a selection of songs from his many projects, sometimes acting out the parts of his absent band to great comedic effect. Black Sea Gentlemen songs made up a large portion of the show, with songs from The Tin Star, new band Spectres of Love, as well as Mikelangelo-at-Antons-1-683x1024the City of Dreams collaboration he did with artists from around Melbourne. Mikelangelo also proved to be a natural storyteller, with the audience held captive by some deeply personal stories from his time in the business regarding lost friends and relationships, as well as anecdotes about his family and growing up.

Mikelangelo threw requests open to the audience, providing one of the highlights of the show. He performed faithful versions of Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’ and Tom Waits’ ‘Going Out West’, but his emotional, note-perfect cover of Marty Robbins’  ‘They’re Hanging Me Tonight’ was the absolute highlight. He was born to sing that song.

To the delight of those attending, the show went almost half an hour past its run time. A highly energetic version of ‘A Formidable Marinade’ accompanied by the piano, including some very intimate and comedic audience participation, came near the end and provided another highlight.

Mikelangelo advertised a best-of show and on that he delivered. It was an outstanding performance from a seasoned entertainer. When he rides into our fair city again make sure you check him out – you won’t regret it.

Reviewed by Tania Nicholas

Photos supplied