CAB-generic-logo-900x600_HeroBy Peter Maddern

With much work, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival has not only established itself as the national leader but it has also been touted as the ‘most comprehensive cabaret festival in the world’ whatever that may mean. And in recent years, each director has added its class and substance, with their opening Saturday night the occasion to showcase the Festival’s headline act – it’s hard to believe its already four years since Adelaide swooned at the feet of Olivia Newton-John.

And while, especially during the Campbell years, the definition of cabaret became increasingly stretched at least song was front and centre of everything the Festival did and stood for.

Not so last night as comedian Adam Hills took centre stage to reprise his Melbourne Comedy festival show, oh with one ditty tossed in. Hills has won a large following on the ABC and is possibly the man more women in this country want to marry than any other, but cabaret artist he is not, not that he attempted anything resembling that throughout his 90 minutes on stage.

So with tickets at up to $80 each, we got a stand-up act; a lot of Adelaide feel-good blab, 15 minutes appealing to a Q&A audience (who seemed in short supply) with his ABC correct polemics, a most engaging period dealing with parenting and finally a wrap focused on cancer and death. One can only speculate what led to this cock-up though in fairness to the organisers they promised no more in the official program (other than scheduling Hills on the opening Saturday night in the Festival Theatre!)

Barry Humphries, you may have promised ‘there are no rules’ in your cabaret festival but we all thought there would be one – cabaret.

Kryztoff Rating         1K     (One for each song in the show!)

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