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Hats Off - A concert with a difference

Forum Theatre Melbourne 12 November 2000


A review of HATS OFF by Tracey Kelly

"I TAKE MY HAT OFF TO YOU"

Hats Off, at the Forum Theatre in Melbourne, on November 12th set a high standard for their Inaugural concert (with a difference).  Performers stunned their audience with razzle dazzle, kept them chuckling in between with skilled M.C. stand-up, Marty Fields; tugged at their heart strings with songs of sentiment, while peppering the night with wit and irony.

A great combination of stars volunteered to make the night one to remember and raise funds for Oz Showbiz Cares/Equity fights AIDS and help fund an Indigenous Officer for the Victorian AIDS Council.

Carrie Barr opened the night with a re worked comical version of "Cabaret", which set the stage for what was to come.  Maria Mercedes stirred our emotions with "The World Goes Round," while Helen Noonan took the ‘mickey’ out of Opera in a most entertaining way.  Continuing on the emotional roller-coaster, John O’May, Martin Croft and Pamela Rabe reminded us why we were there, with songs such as "A Very Unusual Way," "A Stranger Here Myself" and "Every Day a Little Death".

Other highlights were David Rogers-Smith with his song, "Somewhat Over Indulgent" an artist’s plea, Combo Fiasco "Now You Have Jazz" and "Sweet Georgia Brown." John Bowles in white, Rhonda Burchmore, pazzaz in sequins and the cast of Buddy with their bounding voices brought well known show tunes to life, in ways only they know how to.

The Centrestage Performing Arts School showcased their most talented youth with exuberance and high energy.  The audience soared to a high with "Put ‘Em Back the Way They Was," where pining singers mourned their men who were now Drag Queens.  When the girls left the stage in a clever play on the theme, their Drag Queens mysteriously changed into Beef Cake, "Bad Boyz" dancers.

Silken voiced Silvie Paladino sang "Gone Too Soon" as a tribute to the Memorial Quilt backdrop, which highlights names of those taken by AIDS.  Paul Kelly with his solo acoustic offered a striking contrast to the night with his delightful witty ballads.  There was even a magic act by Ross Skiffington’s Grand Magic Company.

All in all a fabulous night worth re visiting.  The talent brought together was not only brilliant but their passion and commitment was highly prominent.  True professionals, representing a cross section of the entertainment industry, with high energy and a sense that they really loved being there, contributed to the night's entertainment.

I take my hat off to the organisers and volunteers who must do this again!

Next time, I’ll bring my Mum, she’d just love it!

Tracey Kelly

TraceyK Communications Armadale VIC