Elaine Paige previously claimed that an artist only performs twice in Adelaide; once on the way up and again on the way down. A mere four years since last gracing the Adelaide stage, the 'leading lady of theatre' returns with an indulgent solo show.
The performance was somewhat of a reflection upon Paige's career, and as such, quite a smorgasbord of music theatre treats. The evening featured numbers from the shows that contributed to Paige's worldwide success (Evita, Cats and Chess) as well as songs from musicals like Sunset Boulevard, Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Miserables.
Following an opening medley played by the eight piece orchestra, Paige made a flourishing entrance with "Don't Cry For Me Argentina". Despite her theatrics and organic choreography, Paige did not seem completely comfortable on stage during much of the first half.
With great emphasis on slow ballads and the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber, the first act lacked variety. It became monotonous, but was not unenjoyable.
It was not until the second set that Paige truly settled into the performance, returning with a small jazz set including "Blue Skies" and a refreshing take on "All That Jazz". Paige was visibly at ease, and her mature, husky voice lent itself surprisingly well to the genre.
Relatively unknown New Zealand performer Nic Kyle provided backing vocals and brief solo interludes during the performance. His final feature number, "Gethsemane (I only want to say)" from Jesus Christ Superstar, was received by rapturous applause and a standing ovation. Kyle nearly threatened to upstage the leading lady herself.
Perhaps just a characteristic of the venue, the sound was so boomy during the opening numbers that the vocals were hardly distinguishable. While it did improve as the performance progressed, there were various noticeably unbalanced moments throughout.
Perhaps Paige is not the same artist that many would recall from the early 1970s, but her matured voice and glamorous style are just as enjoyable. It was a rare but cherished opportunity for Adelaide audiences to witness an artist as iconic as Elaine Paige.
Lennard Promotions presents
Elaine Paige in Concert
2012 Australian Tour
Saturday 20 October Riverside Theatre, Perth | Ticketek 132 849
Tuesday 23 October Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre, Adelaide | Ticketek 132 849
Wednesday 24 October Palais Theatre, Melbourne | Ticketmaster 136 100
Friday 26 October State Theatre, Sydney | Ticketmaster 136 100
Sunday 28 October Canberra Theatre, Canberra | Canberra Ticketing 02 6275 2700
Monday 29 October QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane | QTIX 136 246