Review By Lauren Donikian
A theatre with curved walls, soft yellow lights hanging from the ceiling and a grand piano is what you first see on entry into The Neilson. As everyone settles in, we are welcomed by Francis Greep, Executive Director of The Song Company. He is the pianist accompanying Paul Capsis during Dry My Tears which has been curated by the pair to reflect songs that emulate parts of Paul’s life.
Capsis, who is one of Australia’s most versatile performers makes his way to the stage and is wearing a velour shirt and jacket, skinny leg pants, with a top hat that has a blue and yellow feather in it and an emerald-coloured ring that catches the light. He starts to sing, and the theatre falls to a hush. His voice is haunting at times and soft at others, but always filled with passion and emotion. Capsis always knows where to find his light and looks directly into it as if he is singing to someone in his eyeline. At a performance as intimate as this, it is easy to see why Capsis has excelled in so many areas of the entertainment industry. He is an actor, singer and writer and has appeared in television, movies, musicals, and theatre shows in Australia and all over the world. He won the Cabaret Icon Award at The Adelaide Cabaret festival in 2021 so it made sense for him to open with some cabaret hits. Throughout the hour performance we see different sides to this incredible performer, upbeat and positive, downtrodden, and heartbroken then hopeful and alive.
The connection between Greep and Capsis is obvious as they constantly check in with each other and respect each other’s crafts. At the beginning of the performance, they are playful with each other, but as the night progresses Greep becomes the shoulder to lean on.
It is an interesting way to curate a show with songs that act as commentary to one’s life. When there are words, we aren’t sure we can say, there is always a song that we will be able to play. Capsis gives a lot of himself in this performance, and I was mesmerised by his passion and clear love for the songs performed. At times it felt like there was a disconnect between him and the audience so the energy felt stilted but ever the professional he made commentary on Sydney that only the locals would understand and it got the room laughing. During the performance Capsis removes his top hat and takes his hair out of a ponytail to allow it to run wild. Later his jacket is removed, and it feels like he is peeling off the layers to reveal a brand new him by the end of the show. Someone that can walk out and hold their head up high, because although parts of their life were tough, they made it through and had the support of someone that was willing to share in their story.