Philip Quast Uncut
A Meredith Shaw Production. The Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. June 10 2019
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
|Philip Quast. Photo; Kate Williams|
A whistling sounds. in the darkness. Accompanist Anne-Maree McDonald sits silently at the piano and the packed audience gazes expectantly at the stage. Philip Quast enters. Whistle turns to song as his rich baritone voice gently sings the song of The Gipsy Rover. The rover has returned to the Dunstan Playhouse where forty year ago he stood stark naked on the stage as Adam in The Wakefield Mysteries. Emotion takes hold as he pauses to remember old friends, dead friends and happy times. And so he returns clothed in the glory of a stellar professional international career as an actor, singer and entertainer on stage, film and television. His one show chat Philip Quast - Uncut at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival becomes a convivial time with an old mate, relaxed, familiar and utterly charming and beguiling. Anecdotes leap from his lips, recalling names that drop lovingly into his story, such as Nick Enright, Bryn Terfel, Imelda Staunton and naturally enough, Stephen Sondheim. And there are the names of some that are more discreetly left unsaid. He proudly, not arrogantly, recounts the praise he received from the 92 year old Peter Brook and the hilarious first name conversation with Prince Charles. And there is the special tribute to his father, a one timehard working turkey farmer from Tamworth. Sentiment that has swirled about the stage since he entered with his favourite song swells with the mention of his aged father.
|Philip Quast and Anne=Maree McDonald|
Interspersed throughout the conversation are songs from a career that has seen Quast garner awards from Australia to London and from the State Theatre of South Australia to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon. There are songs that have made him the toast of the world of musicals. For seventeen years Quast filled young hearts with wonder in the favourite children’s show, Playschool. It’s not surprising then that Quast should ask an entire audience to rise from their chairs and join in a rousing rendition of Wiggly Woo. Quast leaps onto a table below the stage to wiggle his hips along with the crowd. There’s nothing precious about his show- and especially not when he kisses an unsuspecting audience member on the mouth as Georges in La Cage Aux Folles.
Uncut is a music theatre treat and Quast its magical star. The audience of fans revel in his playfulness, ready to submit to every command and embrace the occasion. Quast and accompanist McDonald work hand in glove on a show that has a notional running sheet but allows for diversion and ad lib for an audience that would forgive this shining light of the musical stage anything . Quast endears himself to his audience with a patriotic rendition of Adelaide’s The Home For Me from Enright’s On The Wallaby “and the local audience bursts into rapturous applause.
Every song Quast sings is a hit, from Sondheim’s Follies to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s King and I. But it is Javier’s suicide song from Les Miserable that brings the house down and the audience to its feet. With his powerful emotion charged voice, Quast does not disappoint. His power over the house is palpable, his charm irrepressible and his talent indisputable. It is as if we have spent a comfortable goss and gass afternoon with an old friend and at the end do not wish to leave. At least not until our affable friend has invited us to join him in one last Wiggly Woo. And we do!