In an increasingly hip hop world, the old fashioned song and dance man is a dying breed. Musical theatre pocket rocket Wayne Scott Kermond is determined to fight extinction. Hailing from a multi-generational entertaining family, he was treading the boards from a very young age and has sustained a career in the industry for his entire life. Candy Man is Kermond’s tribute to his biggest hero, Sammy Davis Jr, who he meet in 1986 while performing in an Australian production of Guys and Dolls.
With wife Katie Kermond directing and producing, Candy Man is such a personal and close to the heart affair that sometimes sentimentality overtakes the show. Wayne Scott Kermond cried tears of happiness on opening night and his praise for Sammy Davis Jr, the audience and his musicians was almost overwhelming. While Kermond’s earnestness is sometimes cloying, you have to admire his spirit and drive to get a large scale, two hour cabaret-esque show off the ground at a major Australian venue. With the help of a superlative brassy band (under the direction of Jamie Castrisos), five enthusiastic dancers and a large choir of multi-aged children, Kermond is never less than 100% in the moment.
Whether he’s doing a bit of soft shoe, hamming up his slapstick in Make-em Laugh, channeling the Rat Pack in Las Vegas Medley, impersonating Marlon Brando or mustering up his best vaudeville shtick, he’s truly present and utterly giving of himself as a performer. With anecdotes about Sammy, corny jokes and audience banter peppered throughout the extensive musical numbers, he sustains a feel-good, nostalgic energy which the lively dancers enhance with their jazz, tap and show girl choreography.
A well-conceptualized set (Set & Lighting Design Stephen Wickham, Set constructed by Phil McNaughton and Associate LX design by Matthew Tunchon) uses vertical light boxes that glow different colors to create various moods depending on the song and allow for Kermond and dancers to move atop and within the musicians. It’s a simple and classy design that maximizes the stage and integrates all the performers.
More than just a concert, but not quite a musical, Candy Man is an entertaining collection of songs, from the familiar Singin’ In the Rain to the melancholy Mr. Bojangles and the upbeat Gonna Build a Mountain, that will not only leave you with a smile on your face, but teach you more than you ever thought possible about the late, great Sammy Davis Jr.
Kermond Creative presents
Starring Wayne Scott Kermond
Venue: Playhouse, Victoria Arts Centre
Dates: June 16 - 27, 2010
Tickets: $39 - $79
Bookings: 1300 182 183 | www.theartscentre.com.au