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Joe Stilgoe at Adelaide Cabaret Festival

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by Georgina Tselekidis (subscribe)
Freelancer and aspiring journalist from Adelaide. Visual Arts graduate & current journalism student. Fashion, lifestyle, entertainment, art & food. I also write for The Adelaidian //
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Celebrated golden tunes spruced right up
Singer, songwriter and out of this world pianist Joe Stilgoe delivers a delightful 70 minutes worth of Songs on Film; a tribute to the recognisable tunes from the dear movies we love. The show begins with the intense and familiar theme from Jaws, instantly setting the scene of a performance based on classics. Joe Stilgoe's mere opening is more than the average curtain raiser, immediately capturing the audience's gaze, attention and intrigue. An intimate setting made up of small cabaret style tables brings about a scene from a Parisian or New Yorker style cabaret bar; lights hitting the stage, eyes fixed on Stilgoe and his two entertaining side kicks.

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Photo Credit Matt Humphrey

Stilgoe ventures to former films, eras and genres to bring the crowd some people-pleasing songs in a mashup of cabaret, jazz and funk. His ability to journey from the past to present is evident in his renditions of many familiar sounds that are reinvented in an upbeat and animated fashion. Giving the audience a little insight into his connection with each film and backing track, Stilgoe delves into each song with utter passion and a little oomph that's difficult to dismiss; his personality and character take centre stage, as does his silky smooth voice. Sitting amongst a crowd of strangers in a dark room, it's quite easy to be swept away to another place, glaring in awe as Stilgoe does his thing.

Born Slippy from the Trainspotting soundtrack exemplifies the tie between diverse styles and music genres that Stilgoe seems to be inspired by. As one of the first films he watched as a kid, Stilgoe's translation of this distinguished song combined with his own innovative approach creates a dapper version that's energetic and unlike anything I've seen or heard before.The way in which he moves into another genre is something to admire. Who would've thought piano could be so thrilling.

Stilgoe sways into a nostalgic animation medley, serving as a reminder of those memorable cartoon reels that we can all resonate with, despite the age gap of the many audience members. The Looney Tunes, The Smurfs, The Flintstones, Pink Panther, Winnie the Pooh, Popeye and more, Stilgoe manages to meld all these classics into one big entertaining musical saga that gets the crowd guessing along the way. As Stilgoe interacts with the audience, his comic nature with a few jokes thrown in the mix makes for a humorous story and rendition of Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head from Bill Murray's renowned 1993 hit, Groundhog Day. It's clear that the evening gets better by the minute.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 2016, June, Events, Cabaret, Performances, Classics, Adelaide, Suave, SA, Arts, Joe Stilgoe, Songs on Film, AdCabFest, Adelaide Cabaret, Festival Stage
Joe Stilgoe Songs of Film - Photo Credit Jordan McLachlan

A guessing game has the crowd shouting answers to the sounds of identifiable studio themes like Universal Studios, Pixar, Disney and Warner Brothers. You'll be put to the test with this little addition to the night. Likewise, Stilgoe's skills on the piano are really something. As one sits back to take it all in, it's fascinating to discover that a conventional instrument produces such enthralling sounds that are manipulated in a refreshing manner. Comprising a suave double bass player Tom Farmer and drummer Ben Reynold, this snazzy trio makes so much noise, and in a good way. All the musical instruments in the world couldn't replace the way these three make music. A tap dancing stint goes to show that although a small size band, there's no doubt a large scale impact is established. As they say, size doesn't really matter; it's all about how you use it. No pun intended.

Stilgoe reveals one of his own pieces of music that is reminiscent of his favourite childhood cinema. In ode to the art-deco velvety chairs, buttery popcorn and unusual swaying metal sign that inspires the core of this feature song, Stilgoe's affinity to his childhood experiences exists in every melody, making his voice and music so alluring. Perhaps clinging onto the past , wanting to share his fondest memories with the world, or simply reliving his finest moments, Stilgoe is an old soul who takes us back to the simpler times.

Joe Stilgoe - Songs on Film is currently showing as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival until June 19 at Festival Theatre Stage.
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Why? Joe Stilgoe takes us back to our most cherished childhood memories.
When: Until June 19
Phone: 8216 8600
Where: Adelaide Festival Centre - Festival Theatre Stage
Cost: Refer to website for pricing
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