When I Fall in Love, The Nat King Cole Story is a jubilant and thoroughly satisfying tribute to one of the most respected singers of the 20th Century.
Bert Labonte is a most charismatic performer with a dynamic personality on stage. He possesses a resonant, appealing and versatile voice. Bert oozes charm that makes women of all ages sigh and go weak at the knees. When he schmoozed his way through the audience singing LOVE, every woman had a smile on her face.
Bert has a wry sense of humour and unpretentious honesty that guys connect with and respect. And Bert likes to be a little cheekily mischievous, which keeps the audience entangled in his snare.
His trio of piano, drums and double bass is the perfect size for this dimly lit night club setting. The band produce a warm pulsating sound that fills, but doesn’t overwhelm the space in the Loft and they happily play in the background behind the star. The featured piano spots were impressive, seamless and true to Nat King Cole’s own style.
With his jazz trio Bert is a swinging cat and his uplifting joy in Orange Coloured Sky and Those Lazy Hazy Days of Summer is wonderfully euphoric. Not only does he celebrate the musical genius of his idol, but Bert inhabits the song, lending at times a noticeably contemporary voice – a homage rather than an imitation.
The style of narrative is unexpectedly poetic and impassioned. And Bert knows how to share a persuasive story. Through the eloquent monologues, he reveals secrets and curious facts about the enigmatic Nat King Cole and his life and times with both relish and surprise. The impeccably dressed television crooner Nat King Cole wasn’t quite the clean cut, perfect family man one had imagined.
The writer Ross Mueller has cleverly juxtaposed his stories with classic songs. Most impressive was how the diabolical pre-wedding events led into a tongue in cheeky version of Makin Whoopee.
Like Cole, Bert can make the so familiar lyrics of songs like Stardust, Mona Lisa and Unforgettable so fresh, it’s like you are hearing them for the first time.
Rightfully, Nat King Cole is respectfully honoured as a true pioneer in the history of the American Songbook. And Bert Labonte cements his reputation as one of Australia’s most versatile performers, with this sensational splash into cabaret. Labonte has a knockout show on his hands.
Luckiest Productions presents
When I Fall in Love – The Nat King Cole Story
by Ross Mueller
Venue: Chapel Off Chapel | 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran VIC
Dates: 14 – 23 December
Tickets: $35 Full, $30 Concession (+ Transaction Fee)
Duration: approx 65 mins