Wednesday, October 9, 2019

30 SOMETHING - Hayes Theatre

Devised and performed by Phil Scot and Catherine Alcorn
Hayes Theatre, Sydney, 2nd – 13th October 2019.
Performance 3rd October reviewed by Bill Stephens

Catherine Alcorn - Phil Scott in "30 Something"

For their first collaboration together, 30 Something, Catherine Alcorn and Phil Scott have come up with the idea of recreating a New Year’s Eve Party in Kings Cross. A clever choice given that this show provides Alcorn with her first opportunity to perform at The Hayes, which of course is situated in The Cross, and the pre-occupation of the 30’s was The Great Depression, Politics and Booze, not too far removed from current pre-occupations. A fact not lost on Scott, who’s a master of razor-sharp political references, or Alcorn, who matches him with her acid tongue come-backs. 

The tiny Hayes Theatre, with the addition of a few cabaret tables ringing the stage area, doubles perfectly as a 1930’s speak-easy, with pencil-moustachioed Scott, seated at the baby grand, looking very dapper in tuxedo and bow-tie, doing double duty, is both compere and band leader, surrounded by the excellent combo of Dave Ellis (double Bass), Andy Davies (drums) and James Sarno (trumpet). Needless to say the musical arrangements are first rate.

Looking very Vogue-ish in black sequined culottes, white satin blouse and gold cloche hat over her long black tresses, Catherine Alcorn channelled both Mae West and Bette Midler to create a fast-talking, sultry chanteuse. Whether duetting with Scott with their update of “Lulu’s Back in Town” (re-written as “Cath and Phil Are Back In Town”), or the romantic “Thanks for the Memory”, or happily belting out “Some of These Days” and “Puttin’ on the Ritz” she commands the stage.

She delights in the double entendre of Irving Berlin’s “After You Get What You Want” and Fats Waller’s “Your Feets Too Big”. She heats up the party with “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” , encourages the audience to join her for a cheeky version of Cab Calloway’s , “Minnie the Moocher”, and even surprises with Lady Ga Ga’s “Born This Way” but  it’s her superb rendition of the  Johnny Mercer torch-song “Drinking Again” that really makes you sit up and take notice.

This good-natured show provides an excellent showcase for the exceptional talents of Phil Scott and Catherine Alcorn. It is highly recommended to anyone seeking an entertaining evening of quality cabaret. 

This review also appears in AUSTRALIAN ARTS REVIEW.