Distortions | CosentinoCosentino, illusionist and magician, gives Harry a run for his money in Distortions, one of the opening shows of the 2012 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

In her first romp as artistic director, Kate Ceberano departs from the stereotypical Broadway show tune and instead embraces a grungy, eclectic and earthy take on cabaret. This is utterly epitomised by Cosentino's performance, which is a night of old fashioned vaudevillian entertainment.

The slick and obviously well rehearsed show is a unique combination of sleight of hand, illusion and physical demonstration. Each larger act is punctuated by one that is less grandiose, as well as intimate interactive segments. The rock soundtrack, use of multimedia and Cosentino's Michael Jackson-esque choreography certainly add a modern and refreshing flavour to the time honoured art form of magic.

Cosentino proved his ability as a performer during segments that required audience participation, with several cheeky volunteers exercising his showmanship and professionalism. Similarly, during an act of sleight of hand, he cleverly incorporated a slight mishap into the show when a playing card slipped from the deck.

By far the most impressive feat was an inexplicable position change between Cosentino and his assistant, and the Harry Houdini-style straight jacket escape. Certainly Cosentino's many television appearances do not do justice to his art, which is far better experienced live. Only then can one truly appreciate the unforgettable, breathtaking stunts.

It was a shame that many audience members began leaving before the show finished, presumably to attend another performance. While both disruptive and rude, it is but a consequence of the tight performance schedule of the festival.

Cosentino opened his show with a warning, "this show is very much based on audience participation, so if it's crap, it's not my fault". Interaction with his audience was certainly a large part of the show, but it's clear that regardless of this, Cosentino's Distortions would still have been nothing short of spectacular.

2012 Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Venue: Dunstan Playhouse
Dates: 8 – 9 June, 2012
Times: 1:15pm (9 Jun), 6.00pm (8 Jun)
Tickets: $49.90 – $39.90
Bookings: www.bass.net.au

Most read Adelaide reviews

The bewildering confusion between dream and reality begins before one takes one’s seat in the...

The cast of one is Robyn Nevin, and it was no surprise that her performance was riveting.

The revelation of this concert to me was that, yes, musicians, like audiences, have been starved...

What a Pulse the acrobats exhibited! What unanimity, what complicity in their formation and...

This long and interesting concert was structured around Schoenberg’s extraordinary setting of 21...