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The 1998 Sydney Cabaret Convention


Penny and I were fortunate enough to go on the first night of the convention and it was a truly wonderful night. It was our last chance to have a good chat to David and see him perform before he and Les leave for the USA on 1 July, 1998.

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Here is our first report from David Schwartz about the Australia Cabaret Convention:


Last night was the opening night and the Cabaret Space at the Sydney Town Hall was filled. It will be quite a week with approximately 178 performers participating in 65 acts. The majority of the time is given over to showcasing talent and so the results can be quite mixed, as you might imagine.

What follows is a very personal view of the night, so here goes: A local performer named Genevieve Lemon is acting as MC. She is quite a talented singer/comedian. The first night was bracketed by star turns from Lana Cantrell, Australian by birth and New Yorker by residence, and David Campbell, a man with a huge future whose talents have grown immensely since I first saw him 3-4 years ago in ONLY HEAVEN KNOWS. Lana opened the evening with "When you wish upon a star" and proved that the passage of years has not been harsh on her voice. She will be performing in the Gala Evening on Sat night.

David Campbell chose much more adventuresome target by performing a bracket of 5 songs from John Bucchino's show URBAN MYTHS. His last song in that bracket was the stunningly beautiful and moving song GRATEFUL which was the opener of his second CD, TAKING THE WHEEL. Finishing the evening on such a contemplative note was both risky and brilliant. Even this early in what promises to be a long career he has learned the are of economy and understatement, allowing the material to make its impact. A fantastic ending.

And what came in between Cantrell and Campbell? Well, there were 9 showcased acts in all, including turns by single acts (Derek Metzger, Adele Johnston, Rob Martin, David harris, Fiona Leigh Jones and Avigail Herman), some comedy/song from the Tiboldi Brothers, jazz close-harmony work from a quartet called Vocal Design, and truly elegant jazz styling by Janet Seidel. The highlights for me were Avigail Herman, a witty and bright performer who wowed with the Cleo Laine number CONTROL YOURSELF, and Janet Seidel, a cool professional with a sort of Barbara Carroll sensibility, who did a great rendition of Hoagy C's SKYLARK. In addition, there was a very funny version of THE MAN THAT GOT AWAY from Genevieve Lemon.

Tonight promises to be more of same, though no celebrity acts are listed.

More about that tomorrow.

David Schwartz

By David Schwartz  via the Cabaret Hotline Online