Crooning with Michael Coumi. Holden Street Theatres. 28 Feb 2015
Clearly there were high expectations of Michael Coumi for his Fringe show of old-fashioned crooning.
People were shoehorned up to the rafters for the opening performance.
Coumi did not disappoint.
The lanky actor, familiar to Adelaide audiences for his fine work in amateur theatre and musicals, had honed up a lounge act which was so slick and endearing that, well, his audience simply did not want to go home. Long after the show was clearly over, they sat clapping and craving more.
Looking very dashing in formal black and starched white and complete with cummerbund, Coumi had swung them through a series of the great old pop songs of yore: old Frank Sinatra numbers, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jnr…
They whooped approval.
He linked the songs with tight, well-wrought patter - funny anecdotes about his Greek background, his happy love life and he even threw in some most amusing superstar impersonations.
Not only but also, using every available inch of The Studio’s stage, he did some soft shoe and some tap routines, most notably, Mr Bojangles, which he presented as a beautiful little salon piece of itself. Its pathos and his theatrical flair with it will stay in audience memory. It was quite special.
For this achievement he gave credit to his choreographer, Adelaide’s stellar veteran music hall artiste, Phyl Skinner, who is still dancing, choreographing and entertaining at 92. Skinner had teamed up with director, Peter Goers in throwing expertise behind Michael Coumi, obviously in the recognition that this 27-year-old has star quality worth polishing.
Hence this gem of a show.
Despite his youth, Coumi has all the moves of the seasoned lounge act, all seemingly easy and natural. He connects with the audience, emanating his good nature. He does not have the greatest vocal range in the world, but he knows just where to take it with confidence and style.
“Style” is a good word for him, old-fashioned style in a stylish, old-fashioned show. This show has legs and, if there is still a club circuit to do, he should be on it. But not without his band, Breezin’. They’re a class act, too. The four young musicians supported and complemented their soloist with creamy professionalism .They have a winning presence of their own and are an Adelaide band to watch out for.
Coumi is touting this show as the one to which Fringe-goers can take their mothers and grandmothers but, funnily enough, what is old is new again and this fine little show has something for everyone.
When: 28 Feb to 15 Mar
Where: Holden Street Theatres Studio