PAUL CAPSIS: WITH JETHRO WOODWARD & THE FITZROY YOUTH ORCHESTRA
PAUL CAPSIS WITH JETHRO WOODWARD & THE FITZROY YOUTH ORCHESTRA, Sydney Festival at the Spiegeltent, 17-18 January 2019. Photography by Victor Frankowski
By guest reviewer DAVID HILYARD
Paul Capsis promised us “an old-fashioned show”, and that’s what he delivered. A singer, a great band (and hipster-lookalikes), and 80 minutes of our time. It was that simple, and so, so good.
Capsis is consistently one of our best performers – in cabaret, and in a series of acclaimed and awarded theatre roles he’s made his own such as Cabaret, Angela’s Kitchen, The Lost Echo and in Tom Waits’ The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets.
In this show he works through a terrific selection of the late 20th - early 21st century songbook. Skyhooks, Eurythmics, Amy Winehouse, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Nina Simone and others get the unique Capsis treatment, with intimate, intelligent, emotional renditions of their songs.
A good measure of a performer is how well they can bring you to an unfamiliar song. November, by Tom Waits and William S Burroughs, was new to me and compelling in its Gothic, macabre bleakness. (I need to hear more about this song, and the show it comes from - a reworking of Die Frieschutz.)
Capsis is alternately fey, elfin, shamanic, a boozed-up broad, or an amped-up, singalong bar-room brawler. He’s compelling in all these guises. There were only two shows in this Festival offering, both were quickly sold out on announcement. Do yourself a favour and keep your eyes open for his next dates.