Bert LaBonte

When I Fall In Love. The Nat King Cole Story.

Cabaret Festival. Artspace 22 and 23 Jun

Loosely based on the tale of Nathaniel Cole’s life, this cabaret conceived by LaBonte and written by Ross Mueller jumps back and forth between poetic tales and beautifully performed song. LaBonte’s voice is outstanding and sounds not unlike Cole, but the story lacks context and assumes a fair bit of prior knowledge.

The show is light and enjoyable and LaBonte is charismatic and charms the audience easily. His voice is very pleasurable to listen too but the show is a tad confusing. Borrowing phrasing and lyric from other non-Cole songs, LaBonte weaves a tale of travel and intrigue, sex, love and life – but you have to pay attention, and occasionally you may just get lost along “the highway that’s the best”

The curtain call was a performance of ‘Open up the Dog House’ and the audience was thrilled when LaBonte was joined onstage by David Campbell, playing the character of Dean Martin. Other songs in the show included ‘Unforgettable’, ‘Love is a many splendored thing’, ‘L-O-V-E’ and ‘Mona Lisa’.

A basic understanding of the life of Nat King Cole will help you through this show, but the music alone is wonderful to listen to and definitely worth the price of admission.

Paul Rodda