Saturday, June 11, 2011



Dunstan Playhouse

Friday June 10

At the end of the day acts like THE MAGNETS are why we need a Cabaret Festival. Six fantastic performers with a show that would be comfortable at the London Palladium or at The Sands in Vegas. The Magnets were breath taking.

From the moment the lights go down and the British a cappella six piece is spotlighted in a silhouette freeze, it is a slick, razzle-dazzle showbiz ride of the highest order. The opening number is a mash-up of Lenny Kravitz smash Are You Gonna Go My Way with Fatboy Slims Weapon of Choice, kicks things off and immediately shows what we are in for. Every sound we hear is coming from the mouths of the guys on stage, but it sounds like a full band with a drummer, rhythm section and a dj plus six singers. It is remarkable.

They introduce the guys, there is some classic banter. Blur’s Boys & Girls is next and I getting goose bumps. Taking liberties with the arrangements of these well known songs is part of what makes this a great show. Their take on Lady Gaga’s Poker Face slows it down and doo-wops it into new territory. Thanks to a cold bespectacled James Fortune is having a little trouble at the start of a frantic quasi-gospel take of Blondie’s Call Me, but it’s soon corrected and back on track. There is a moment during Living on a Prayer Bon Jovi’s monster 80s hit were my companion got “double goosebumps”. High praise indeed.

Interesting that they chose Working Day & Night (Off the Wall )when there are so many other better known Michael Jackson songs, but it worked fantastically well. While powering through these songs they are dancing, flirting with members of the audience, pulling off visual gags which sprinkle the stardust over the music. Did I really just say ‘sprinkle the stardust’? A jack-swing version of Let’s Swing by David Bowie segues into beat-boxer Andy Frost’s amazing ‘drum’ solo. He mimes all the different ‘toms’ and effects and then plays the entire music by himself. When he dropped a grab of Seven Nation Army the hairs on my neck rose. There’s a breakneck medley of 26 bands in seven minutes (in alphabetical order) in A to Z in which the audience is encouraged to yell out the artist when they know who it is. Great fun. A fantastic take on Jimi Hendrix’s Crosstown Traffic with the entire audience on its feet doing three part harmony was a highpoint. The finished with a great version of Human by Las Vegas band The Killers ending up back in the silhouettes they started in. The standing ovation was complete with thunderous applause as they reprised the Human chorus in the audience and then headed out to sign CD’s in the foyer.

Utterly brilliant show. Catch it if you can.

Remaining shows at the Dunstan Playhouse Sat June 11 at 6:15pm and Sun June 12 at 8pm.

Ian Bell

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