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Review: Second Wedding Singer

Cabaret Festival

Simon Hall of Tripod has started moonlighting as the premiere second wedding and funeral singer. But not at second funerals - that was a typo on his business cards.

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Following the success of his 2014 Cabaret Festival show Yon and His Prism of Sexy Thoughts, Hall returns to Adelaide with Second Wedding Singer.

Directed by Alan Brough, with musical arrangements by Brenton Broadstock, the show features songs that traverse the life cycle of love, marriage, divorce and back again.

Hall uses the Spiegeltent to create a world in which he has cornered the second-time-lucky wedding market as the most sought-after singer and MC for your special day, with the audience members as wedding guests.

In a risky move, he launches straight into audience participation by announcing the wedding bride and groom as he opens with “Two Broken People In Love”.  A consummate stage veteran, he reads the crowd just right and the interaction throughout the show is playful rather than intimidating.  Special mention must be made to Jonno and Liz, who played their parts with a keen sense of humour.

While Second Wedding Singer is tamer than its 2014 Green Room Award-nominated sibling, it strives to be just as confrontingly honest.  Hall’s songs are deliberately uncomfortable at times, but always hilarious.

“My Parents’ Breakup (Was Better Than Your Parents’ Breakup)”, where a young girl one-ups her playmate by flaunting that her parents are now happy as they both get five days off , and “Guilt is My Engine”, Hall’s confession that his every good deed is born from his self-reproach, struck close to the bone for this Catholic-schooled child of divorce.

It isn’t all cynical. Hall has some optimistic takes on relationship breakdowns – you may have to part with half your worldly goods and limit the time you see your children, but at least you never bought a dog together.

The show closes with “You Don’t Know for Certain it Won’t Work”, the perfect anthem for all regrettable relationships spawned in your 20s.

Vocally, Hall is not always strong ­– something which is amplified by the skill of the Brass Ring, skilled local musicians from Marion City Brass Band who adapted well to their new cabaret setting ­– but the glory of this performance is in his lyrics.  He ventures further than “good taste” but arrives in a very fun place.

While not for the easily offended, Second Wedding Singer is a refreshingly original crowd-pleaser.

The final performance of Second Wedding Singer is tonight (Thursday) at the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent.

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