Hobson isn’t Frank Woodley and Lane isn’t Teddy Tahu Rhodes – so this isn’t a new double act. The premise of In Tails is that these talented and engaging performers should make a spirited attempt to absorb something of each other’s craft in just over an hour’s performance.
Accompanied by musician David Cameron, Hobson and Lane communicate their obvious and genuine friendship and love of performance by way of operatic arias, musical theatre and dance, and some banter that might have been a nod to vaudeville – or just two mates having fun.
While the opening night show wasn’t as polished as you might expect (some of the linking ad lib items affected the overall pace), their engagement with the audience as the show progressed was positive and inclusive – performers, musician and audience all had a good time.
The description In Tales as “a comedian and an opera singer swap roles” is slightly misleading – just a publicity stunt, as Hobson described it – but they spend a lot of time comparing notes about their different professions, and Lane’s dream of singing an operatic duet with Hobson provides a theme to the show with an impressive and unexpected climax.
Hobson’s glorious voice is in full flight throughout and he is also comfortable as part of a comic duo in this context. Lane brings to the show his own style of unique comedy with a real singing talent that he can add to his other credits. So it is an unexpected combination of talents but with familiar performances from each one as well.
Not everyone will be comfortable with the informal and ad lib style, and it felt like they need a few more shows to hone the performance, but there is no doubting their talents and the genuine desire to share those talents with each other and with the audience. The final applause was resounding.
In Tails is playing at The Banquet Room, Adelaide Festival Centre, until June 18 as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
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