Rainbow and Stars Review - October 1998

(Solo; Rainbow and Stars; l00 capacity; $40)

Presented in-house. Piano, Christopher Denny; bass, Jon Burr, drums, Rex Benin-casa. Reviewed Oct. 8 and l3, l998.

David Campbell is blessed with a warm baritone voice plus soaring upper register, boyish good looks and, for a 24-year old entertainer, a generous amount of confidence and show-biz savvy. The native Australian warmed up in front of a capacity audience at the posh Le Dome in New Jersey's The Manor at a one-nighter prior to his second three-week stint at Rainbow and Stars.

The singer brings spirited jazz flavoring to Peter Allen's "Everything Old Is New Again," proving he is also a gutsy belter, A musically cunning and inventive medley finds Stephen Sondheim' "Not a Day Goes By" tacked onto Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness of You," and Campbell merges them with ardent romanticism.

His varied repertoire spans a half-century, from a spirited centennial nod to George Gershwin with "I Got Rhythm" to tunes by Carole King, Tom Waits and Paul McCartney. Contemporary roots surface when he picks up a guitar to shout Stevie Wonder's "Signed Sealed and Delivered." (His father is Down Under rock superstar Jimmy Barnes.)

An infectious seasoning of Braziliana is served with Antonio Carlos Jobim's insinuating "Waters of March," which Campbell builds with feverish intensity. Encore finds a hilarious on-target send-up of Mandy Patinkin as he might sing "Hello, Dolly!"

An actor and consummate storyteller (his theatrical experience includes a run in Melbourne as Marius in "Les Mis"), Campbell makes an emotionally poignant statement with Tom Anderson's MAC Award-winning song, "Yard Sale." The piece becomes not only a reflective memory piece, but its dark subtext surfaces with the choked-up resignation of someone "running out of time."

Banter is kept to a minimum, but when Campbell pauses for a chat, it has a nice intimate and spontaneous edge with a charming naivete concerning matters Stateside, the Yankee victory, rugby matches and a brief, awkward audience with the queen following his appearance in "Hey, Mr. Producer!," the Cameron MacKintosh tribute.

Musical director Christopher Denny supplies firm and colorful piano support. He is an assured and knowing accompanist who is acutely aware of the ebb and flow of Campbell's careful and keen phrasing.

Sixty-five stories in the sky, with Manlettan's most glorious panoramic view, Rainbow and Stars will shutter at year's end, following a prestigious 20 year run. The plush deco venue, with the handsome ambiance of 1930's black-and-white sophisticated comedies, will soon fade into memory.

 

by Robert L Daniels - Daily Variety - 20 October 1998