Review: Adelaide Tonight with Bob Downe and Willsy at The Spielgeltent

Review By Lia Cocks

Bringing my mum as my plus one to Adelaide Tonight with Bob Downe and Willsy brought back lots of memories [for her!], as we were ushered into the glorious Spielgetent with old Safcol ads playing [bless Bert and Patti Newton] and Scott Bonner lawn mower commercials featuring Ernie Sigley, the original host of the variety show ‘Adelaide Tonight’ back in the 60s and 70s.

Opening the show was host Bob Downe; the all singing, all dancing, all teeth comedian and media personality who sang up a storm with ‘Sweet Caroline’.

His mile-a-minute, side splitting gags had the crowd entertained the second he stepped up on that stage.

Then out comes Willsy.

The walking disco ball. The most loved personality in South Australia. And winner of 19 Logies.

Singing ‘Walk Right Back’ by the Everly Brothers was a lovely tune that they harmonised so beautifully together.

In true Variety Show form, Adelaide Tonight has a number of diverse guests each weekend of their show, so you can literally come every weekend and enjoy an entirely different experience!

When Jeff Duff was announced as the next guest, the audience weren’t sure what to expect, but what we got was the original waif-like androgynous oddball with the glam rock sound of Bowie.

An eccentric cabaret performer, he was fab in his pocket-sized variety turn.

With little interludes in-between acts, Willsy treated us to tid-bits of her past in Adelaide and on the show; stories of when she was a teen jiving at Norwood Town Hall, or behind the scenes gags with Ernie, we really felt part of the original Adelaide Tonight family!

John O’Hara, fresh from Perth, made an impromptu performance, after his own show #VAL – A Campfire Kiki with Mother had to be cancelled due to the dreaded C-Word.

But his incredible ballad, almost country version of Lady Gaga’s ‘Born this Way’ showed the crowd how splendid his show would’ve been. Especially after halfway through the song the tempo picked up and really got the party started!

A tour de force performer and vocalist, O’Hara brought the Mercury with ‘Breakfree’ – a staggeringly remarkable execution which revealed why he is one of Australia’s most in demand singer/actors

Next up, was the brilliant ‘Liza Minelli’ aka Trevor Ashley; musical theatre, cabaret and drag artist extraordinaire.

With his tremendous pipes and exaggerated Minelli traits during his rendition of ‘On Broadway’ it’s easy to see why he is Australia’s toast of the town!

With stories and gags in between, Ashley’s performance of ‘Memories’ couldn’t hide the gifted vocals that he is known for.

The quips kept coming with a duet between Ashley, still as Minelli, and Bob Downe, reinventing ‘Baby, Its Cold Outside’ to ‘Baby, Its Covid Outside’.

Adelaide Tonight was a spontaneous, quirky and entertaining show to add to your Adelaide Cabaret Festival program line-up!

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