HANS Disco Spektakular.
Canberra Theatre Centre Playhouse.
Performance on August 30th reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.
Definitely spektakular, potty-mouthed and very likeable, Hans is perhaps Adelaide’s most awarded local performing artist, having recently been crowned with that city’s most prestigious performing arts accolade, the 2023 Adelaide Cabaret Festival Icon Award.
The alter-ego of Sunday Mail gossip columnist Matt Gilbertson, Hans is now sharing himself with the rest of Australia with this extensive tour.
Hans is used to Awards having been a grand finalist in America’s Got Talent: The Champions 2020; his trophy cabinet is crammed with Best Cabaret awards, among them, from the Edinburgh Festival and numerous Adelaide Fringe Festivals.
If you overlook his star turn at a Parliament House Midwinter Ball, where he claims he earned the ire of Bob Katter, his appearance at the Playhouse last night was his first Canberra performance for which he attracted an enthusiastic audience consisting, surprisingly, not of the expected glitter brigade, but overwhelmingly, of middle-aged women, some of whom, who he quickly dubbed as his Pussy Posse, claimed to have travelled from as far afield as Goulburn and Yass.
Though not quite as spectacular as the pre-publicity had intimated, “Hans Disco Spektakular” never-the-less boasted an impressive setting involving flashing disco lights and constantly- changing colourful geometric projections, dominated, centre-stage, by a shiny electronic baby-grand piano, which Hans would later use to display his impressive pianistic skills with a disco version of Mozart’s “Rondo Alla Turca”.
A montage of video footage of his many triumphs, including his appearances on “America’s Got Talent”, and his highly publicised accident a year ago, when he fell from the stage during a performance on a cruise ship, heralded his entrance.
No evidence of the serious injuries suffered in that fall was noticeable in his performance, for which, apart from a short interval, for the next two hours he never left the stage, except for lightning costume changes, each costume more glittery and garish than the last.
In between performing a succession of high-energy disco songs, like “Enough is Enough”, “Boogie Woogie Man” and “You Got the Motion”, with which he demonstrated his terpsichorean skills, flanked by two hard-working, energetic singer/dancers, Maddie McArthur and Rachel Vidoni, he also displayed , apart from his piano-playing, a variety of accomplishments, included bell-ringing with “Ring My Bell”, hand tap-dancing (you have to see that for yourself), and his piano-according prowess with a terrific medley of Australian songs played as German drinking songs.
It was a pity therefore that he also spent an inordinate amount of time engaging with audience members. Sometimes this was entertaining, as when he inveigled two males in the audience to dress in disco costumes, but elsewhere this chit-chat, heavily laced with the ‘F’ word, soon became repetitive and tedious, giving the distinct impression that what could have been a tight 90 minute show was being unnecessarily padded out. Whereas, even though he declared his disdain for a script early in the show perhaps some well selected jokes might have served his reputation for wittiness better.
Following an uproarious finale, for which audiences members were invited onto the stage to join in the dancing, while huge balloons were floated around the auditorium, and some generous encores, Hans still had enough energy to pose for selfies with enthusiastic fans in the foyer as the rest of the audience filed out.
This review first published in the digital edition of CITY NEWS on 31st August 2023.