Des O’Connor (no relation to the daytime show host!) takes us on a unique and somewhat personal journey into what makes a cabaret star into the person he is. Using original songs and unusual co-stars to highlight his secrets, this is a journey that is entertaining and creative.
The Freerange was buzzing with excitement as the audience entered the space. The majority had already seen who was about to appear on stage and looked forward to the experience as opposed to the minority who didn’t.
This was of course, Desmond O’Connor - Des for short and no relation to the daytime TV show host as he was very quick to point out! To quote him, he calls the TV host ‘A **** with my name!’ This immediately set the tone for the evening as he then proceeded to take us through the different stages of how an international cabaret star is created.
His persona reminded me somewhat of the late and great Kenneth Williams, as he was sarcastic with his life observations, but yet had a cheeky twinkle in his eye. But he also had a sadness about him which made us want to watch closely. That sadness unlike Kenneth’s though was made obvious through some sketches done by his co-stars Sarah and Fat Bear as they revealed what could possibly be going on in the cabaret star’s mind.
This felt very personal and you didn’t know whether to laugh or cry a lot of the time, so it was a bit confusing as to what you were watching - a comedy show or a serious analytical show in general. Despite this, every single sketch that was revealed was received extremely well by the audience.
The only other observation to be made is that occasionally there were times when the comedy delivery lines were rushed, so the audience didn’t have a chance to react to the jokes. This however didn’t change the fact that the show was extremely enjoyable and despite a lack of audience, the energy was constantly raised and kept everyone engaged throughout the show.
The show’s structure was well created, especially as there were different stages that the cabaret star has to go through in order to get to where he was. What worked well with this is that Des deliberately changed his appearance through these stages to show different sides to him - the teacher, the lonely man, the goth and the free man for instance. This not only gave the show its unusual edge, but it hit home the message that everyone is individual and have to learn to love themselves in order to grow. I think he put it particularly well when he sang the original song ‘No one’s normal apart from me!’ as he not only sent up the fact that people who appeared to be normal usually has some kind of dirty/naughty secret that they hide under the surface.
This is a show that is definitely worthwhile seeing, especially with an act who is charming, arrogant and yet sensitive at the same time. With more shows, this could be something extremely special.
Reviewed by Sascha Cooper 11th May 2010