It is several years since I last saw Paul Capsis perform and never actually in concert mode on the stage of His Majesty's Theatre. His back to the auditorium facing 100 or so guests were seated at small tables. The setting was delightful and the sound and lighting equally so.

Entering from backstage Capsis joined an excellent 3 piece band opening with the vivid introductory song from Cabaret. Shedding a purple "fur" coat and a Siberian style fur headpiece to reveal glittering ensemble of "op shop" glitz, he launched into an extended, dynamic Gospel rendition of On My Way To Cananan Land. All eyes were upon him as he shimmied and slunk about centre stage. Then there is his extraordinary voice. His range is staggering, matched only by his expression and intonation. One minute crackling, the next falsetto.

The songbook ranged through 60's classics like We Can Work It Out to Cher's Bang Bang. Thence to an exquisite version of Quarter to Three. There was an introductory piece about tragic lost ladies of song which lead to a beautiful rendition of the Joplin composition Little Girl Blue. Capsis lead us on a journey through a wide variety of styles seemingly seamlessly intertwined with  wry comments and asides to keep the audience on their toes. A superb, toneful rendition of a Perfect Day closed the show beautifully.

What reads like a melange of songs and styles actually kept the audience spellbound and beyond enthusiasm in their applause and called out responses to the work. It was an extraordinary performance, a privilege to witness.

His trio – Jeremy Brennan (and sometime MD), Joe Southwell and Greg Brendon – provided a spirited ensemble which gave Capsis the support he so richly deserved. The audience rose as one to pay tribute to a truly original artist.

One final show remains in Perth on Thursday 23 June.

Event details

Perth International Cabaret Festival
Up Close and Personal
Paul Capsis

Venue: His Majesty's Theatre Perth WA
Dates: 22 – 23 June 2022
Bookings: perthcabaret.com.au

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