Olivia Newton-John

Cabaret Festival. Festival Theatre Stage – 11 and 12 Jun

Synonymous with ‘Grease’, ‘Xanadu’ and ‘Physical’ Olivia Newton John is a name almost everyone knows, and as such she is headlining the 2011 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Supported by her own 7-piece touring band and the Adelaide Art Orchestra, Olivia is a spectacle to behold and a sure fire crowd pleaser. Love her or not, you would be hard pressed not to start tapping your toes or singing along to many of her well known numbers.

In absolute peak condition Olivia looks fantastic, and tells the audience she is the happiest and healthiest she has ever felt, having personally beaten breast cancer. Fans poured into the Festival Theatre and could barely contain themselves in their seats as Olivia sang hit after hit including a bracket of Country music, and a section inspired by the movie musical Grease.

Audience favourites included ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’ and ‘Xanadu’, which turned into sing-alongs shortly after they begun.  One of her number 1 hits ‘Physical’ which topped the charts for 10 consecutive weeks has recently been revitalised for an episode of the hit US series ‘Glee’, but Olivia decided to sing it in its original format and encouraged the audience to get up and get physical with her. Little encouragement was necessary.

Singing beautifully was not all she had to offer, being wonderfully personable between songs. Sipping back on a cup of tea and laughing about oddities and out-takes, you felt like you were in an intimate cabaret show with a consummate performer.

‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ featured as Olivia’s “Cabaret selection” and in the Country bracket favourites including ‘Joeline’ by Dolly Parton and ‘If Not For You’ by Bob Dylan were hits. The biggest surprise however was saved for ‘You’re The One That I Want’ when Olivia dived into a leather jacket and was joined on stage by none other than David Campbell in the John Travolta role. The song and in fact the whole performance was met with screams of joy and rapturous applause from the whole auditorium.

The Festival Centre turned on a great sound mix for the show and the levels were balanced perfectly, letting the audience enjoy this outstanding singer and legend of Australian music. A wonderful headlining act for this year’s Cabaret Festival.

Paul Rodda