Thursday, June 18, 2015


27 CLUB.

Directed by Tahli Corin. Written by Joshua Tyler and Tahli Corin. Musical Direction by John Thorn. Adelaide Festival Centre in association with Collide. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Dunstan Playhouse. Adelaide Festival Centre. June 17-19 2015.

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins



Forever young. They are the 27 Club, dazzling stars of song and music who famously died at the age of 27. Household names, they remain icons of their time, the voices of new generations and their struggles for political and sexual liberation, singing the songs of freedom for their generation and the world. Robert Johnson, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, all cut down by poisoning alcohol, drugs and alcoholic poisoning.  Were they the victims of the devil at the crossroad, or is it mere coincidence that they should depart at the same age, and in some cases on the same auspicious date of June 3rd. 

Carla Lippis


Coincidence or not, Collide, comprising the charismatic host, Henry Wagons, the lady in the sparkling black body clinging dress with the powerhouse voice, Carla Lippis, the bewitching rock goddess, Hayley Mary and the virtuoso guitarist Daniel Champagne, backed by musical director Johnathon Thorn and his band turn on an energy charged, mind blowing rhythm-pounding celebration of talents too soon departed. Wagons spins the mystery with audience interaction and banter with poor unsuspecting Josh in the front row.  He taunts belief with a host of facts and strange coincidences to test the imagination and tease conjecture.

But it is the music, the legacy and the song that reminds us of stars that lost their sparkle far too soon. But for a time their firmament shone with their talent, , made even more incandescent by the talents of the performers.  From Blues to Country and Western, they changed lives and helped those who listened to find other ways to face their struggles and their pain.

Daniel Champagne

You can hear it in Wagon’s rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s People Are Strange, Hayley Mary’s haunting performance of Janis Joplin’s Me and Bobby Mcgee or Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black.Carla Lippis explodes the air with her powerful, full throttled version of Kozmic Blues and her salute to Nirvana Grunge.

As an opener to the final week of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, this show is a knockout. Upon the cyclorama, quotes appear, such as Amy Winehouse’s observation, “Every bad situation is a blues song waiting to happen” or jimi Hendrix’s “Craziness is like heaven” or Kurt Cobain’s insightful “People laugh at me because I’m strange. I laugh at them because they’re strange” or Jim Morrison’s ironic “Love cannot save you from your fate”

27 CLUB  is more than a tribute to these young musicians from Johnson to Winehouse and their impact on the music world and the people who loved and understood their songs. They faced the devil at the crossroads and died far too soon. But 27 CLUB offers a powerful, uplifting and inspiring insight into the lives and deaths of seven remarkable musicians who left us their music and their lessons for all time. 27 CLUB  premieres at the Adelaide Festival Club, but hopefully these talented performers will take this show on tour. It’s powerhouse entertainment and a dynamic tribute to members of the 27 Club.