“Beyond this door is a banquet… it must be believed to be seen….”
Like Roald Dahl whose unpredictable narratives led an entire generation of children on a journey beyond their wildest imaginations, Elise McCann’s witty and strikingly powerful offering Dahlesque is nothing short of its own world of wonder at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
Within seconds of stepping on the stage, McCann warned audiences to ‘strap themselves in’ as the 2016 Helpmann Award winner kicked the show off with a tongue-twisting rendition of Dahl’s most memorable Gobblefunk phrases.
Backed by a nine-piece orchestra, McCann took audiences on a colourful journey, showcasing her stunning vocal ability with songs from Matilda, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
A series of cleverly written monologues layered in-between the high-energy musical numbers added an even greater depth and character to McCann’s performance. Infused with a touch of the cheeky humour Dahl’s writing is renowned for, McCann wove stories of Dahl’s childhood and milestones from his adult life into an enthralling narrative that spanned decades.
Fans of Dahl’s work would have been delighted with the performance. Even those who weren’t familiar with every song would have found it hard not to smile, let alone share a laugh at the catchy childhood-favourite, Revolting Rhymes, that were given a modern twist.
Dahlesque was written by McCann and Richard Carroll, and featured musical arrangements by Stephen Amos.
Addressing the audience after the show, McCann, who won the Helpmann Award for her portrayal as Miss Honey in Matilda The Musical, said it was her preparation for Matilda that not only reignited her passion and interest in Dahl’s work, but inspired her to develop Dahlesque. After the world premiere of Dahlesque at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival was met with a standing ovation, we can attest that McCann delivered a polished performance filled with the quirky, fun, and slightly obscure Gobblefunk antics we love.
Matilda The Musical is currently showing at the Adelaide Festival Centre. You can book tickets online or find out more here.
Image: Adelaide Cabaret Festival