Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical dazzles in Sydney

Bobby was a famous singer, songwriter, and actor of the 1950s and 60s. Born Walden Robert Cassotto, his extraordinary life story has been brought to the stage in the fantastic "Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical".

The musical is the original concept of cousins John-Michael Howson and Frank Howson, and the current show in Sydney is its world premiere. Unfortunately, Sydney is the only city in Australia that will be presenting it on stage. It just means that people in other states will have to travel to Sydney to see it before it ends on 27th November!

It is a musical extravaganza, featuring many of his No. 1 hits such as Splish Splash, Dream Lover, Mack the Knife and Beyond the Sea. The band providing the big band sound is featured on stage throughout the whole show. Centre stage is the grand piano, played by the conductor of the 18 piece band that produces the wonderful glamour and passion of the big band era of the 50's and 60's. The brass section is a standout. 

There is no set as such, just overhead arches of light globes that change colours and patterns. At first thought this seems odd, but the lack of elaborate backdrop sets just highlights the main feature of the show - the music sung by Bobby Darin. The stage looks like one of the Las Vegas night club stages, and thats the way it should be, as that is where many of Darin's songs were sung. The musical is just like one huge non-stop concert, with only very small amounts of dialogue scattered amongst the many songs in the first and second acts.

The musical tells the life story of the legendary Bobby Darin, from his childhood where he learnt to play the piano, drums and guitar up to his death at age 37. When just a boy he was diagnosed with rheumatic fever and not expected to live for long. However, he had a dream to become a successful performer with the ultimate goal of singing at the Copacabana Nightclub in New York. He rose to fame with many No. 1 hits and sang at many of the nightclubs in Las Vegas such as The Flamingo, The Sands and The Hilton, ending with being on stage at the Copacabana. He starred in 13 movies, and had his own TV shows. He became involved with politics and campaigned on behalf of Robert F. Kennedy.

"Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical" also tells the story of the people involved in Bobby Darin's life. These include his mother, his older sister and her husband, his wife and his manager. Several family secrets kept from him until he was an adult are revealed to him as the story line of the musical progresses. I won't reveal these to you now, as they will spoil the surprise elements for you when you go along to attend the musical yourself.

The cast of "Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical" is sensational. The standout star of the show is the very talented David Campbell (Bobby Darin), who nails singing all of Bobby's songs with his powerful voice. He masters all the styles of Bobby's singing, whether it be rock and roll, pop, ballad, country or folk. He is on stage for most of the two acts, and his charm wins over the audience with his charisma.

Caroline O’Connor does a great job playing a couple of mother roles, the main being that of Bobby Darin's mother, the other Sandas Dee's mother. The superb Hannah Fredericksen plays to perfection Sandra Dee, the movie star and singer that Bobby marries. One can see in her the romance draining away when Bobby spends more and more time on stage and travelling rather than being with her. Marney McQueen is Nina, Bobby's sister who is always there for Bobby, and Bert LaBonte is Charlie, who provided simple advice for Bobby at appropriate moments. Martin Crewes is Steve Blauner, Bobby's friend and manager.  Kyle Banfield, Nicholas Cradock and Brendan Godwin take turns in playing dual roles of the younger version of Bobby, and also the role of Bobby's son.

The ensemble men and women do a fantastic job of singing and dancing in their various colorful costumes, transporting the audience to the various nightclub scenes. The energy of their dancing routines highlighted the nightclub and television dancing of the late 50's, 60's and early 70's.

Watching the audience sitting around me, it was obvious they were enjoying the show. They were tapping there feet, humming along, moving and grooving to the music of "Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical"

Listening to the comments that the audience made during interval and after the show, it was obvious they enjoyed all the singing, dancing, glitz and glamour of "Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical".  The standing ovation strongly suggests that it should move on to not only other parts of Australia, but also to Broadway and the West End.

"Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical"

  • TICKETS FROM $69.90
  • Running time 2.5 hours including interval
  • Tickets:

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