BWW REVIEW: Bobby Fox Treats Sydney Opera House Audience To The World Premiere Of His New Cabaret THE IRISH BOY
Wednesday 5 June 2019, 8pm, Studio Sydney Opera House
A treat of traditional and contemporary music, Irish hard-shoe dancing and amusing personal stories of growing up in Longford Ireland, THE IRISH BOY is an entertaining insight into Bobby Fox's background. The two hour (plus interval) cabaret come concert is a much an exploration of Fox's connection to his home land as it is a celebration of the influence his mother had on his career as a dancer and later all round performer.
Four-time World Championship Irish dancer Fox is better known in Australia for his skill and success in musical theatre. He originated the role of Frankie Valli for the original Australian production of Jersey Boys, presented an engaging expression of Charlie Guiteau in Hayes Theatre's 2017 season of ASSASSINS ( and it's 2018 encore season where he took a shocking fall at the end of a dazzling song and dance number), appeared as a Star Vocalist in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER and many other musicals. Fox is much more than a musical theatre 'triple threat' though, as he proves in THE IRISH BOY. The dancing, singing and acting is complemented with his charming personality and musical skill on the bodhran, button accordion and guitar.
With a somewhat live and spontaneous feel to the evening, Fox shares his love of the music and culture of his home land along with memories of home. His open honesty is inkeeping with the image of the Irish storytellers that share personal anecdotes, making him even more endearing. He is self-effacing and candid about his recollections and assessment of himself and his family, often drawing on stories of his "Mam" who happened to be in the audience for the World Premiere. The selection of the stories and the music ensure that the entire audience is engaged, whether it be fans that have come along to reminisce about Ireland with well-known traditional songs or those more familiar with his interpretations of more contemporary works.
Fox is supported by a five piece band comprising musical director and guitarist Glenn Moorehouse, Keyboardist and sound mixer David J Andrew, Tomm Botting on Bass, Mark Oats on Fiddle and Tom Waller on Drums and percussion. It is also refreshing that whilst this is predominantly Fox's story, the Band each share their connection to the music they are playing, reinforcing the impact it has had on many people.
Fox initially sports a traditional Irish kilt in black with a fox tie setting off his white shirt. This ensemble, complete with long socks lends a more traditional feel to his demonstration of his Irish Dancing skills. The inclusion of this display of fast footwork does come with the recommendation to try to get a higher vantage point if possible when securing your tickets.
With enough personal stories to make this an engaging intimate cabaret THE IRISH BOY is a good balance of humorous stories, instrumental reels and jigs, hard-shoe dance and wonderfully interpreted ballads. Whilst the Sydney concert was a one night only event at the moment, Bobby Fox will be presenting THE IRISH BOY to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival on the 14th and 15th of June and at the Wyong Art House on 22 June.
Photos: Robert Catto