Tom Burlinson’s spirits are high throughout his performance in the Cabaret Festival show Now We’re Swinging. That’s what it’s all about: swing. Burlinson takes us back to the beginning, when swing developed from jazz in the 1930s and was made popular by Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and many others.
Burlinson knows the history well and the way he introduces each song with a little anecdote about its original performer was my favourite thing about this show. He sings well and it’s difficult to fault his performance except that it somehow seems too polished; there is no spontaneity or grand gestures. But that doesn’t stop the audience from loving him and shouting out with joy at several of his song choices.
From the Great American Songbook, he plucks classics such as “The Way You Look Tonight”, Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” and “Cry Me a River”, which has been covered by the younger generation of swing sensations Harry Connick Jr and Michael Bublé. Tony Bennett, Dean Martin and, of course, Frank Sinatra are some of the other famous singers included in the montage.
As support, Burlinson has an eight-piece band of highly skilled jazz musicians, who all do the swing justice.
If swing is your thing, then Now We’re Swinging is a show not to be missed. I just didn’t find it quite as exciting as I’d hoped.
Tom Burlinson performs at the Dunstan Playhouse again at 11am and 6.30pm today (Thursday).
More Adelaide Cabaret Festival reviews and previews
Review: Surrender to the Strangeness of Rramp
Review: Cassandra Wilson
Review: Chaplin: A Life in Concert
Review: Mojo Juju
Review: Molly Ringwald
Review: Variety Gala
Review: Shane Warne the Musical
Paul Capsis: A man of many colours
Sugartits: sweet guerrilla cabaret