Dickie Beau you ask? Yes, I had to ask that question and I’m so glad I went along to his show Unplugged to find out. Some will know him from playing the role of Kenny Everitt in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody or the character Wague in the film Colette and this year more people will know of him thanks to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
Making the simple performance of lip syncing into an art form, Beau had the audience in hysterics with his colourful and quirky facial expressions. Lip syncing to recordings from Kenneth Williams, star of the British Carry On films and American author/ethnobotanist Terrence McKenna as well as Peter Sellars to create the essence of playback in a highly entertaining way.
At one point the Dunstan Playhouse was reduced to darkness while Beau used his real voice to talk with the audience. Then undressing into his next costume which was hot pink shorts and white t-shirt paying homage to South Australia’s Premier Don Dunstan who was a champion for the arts and LGBTIQ community in the 1970s. Beau mentioned Dunstan for “decriminalising homosexuality for him to be able to perform in the venue.”
The Lip Sync-along was creative and a fascinating look at human behavior. Beau started to sing to the Eurythmics song Here Comes the Rain Again with his microphone off. You could only faintly hear his voice which subconsciously encouraged the audience to sing along. Bringing his rainbow coloured umbrella out for the end of the song to twirl with pride!
Unplugged was not only to entertain us but to also educate us in human behaviour. Between stories of ancient Greek amphitheatres, Greek mythology of Narcissus, ancient Greek democracy (or lack of), a recorded message of a young Greek man to a young Greek woman he met the day before and was trying to woo, showed on many levels how we communicate as humans with words.
The last lip syncing recording of the show was the big bang of the night. An old lost tape of a woman recording a message for lover started off with general banter about her day turning into a sexually explicit description of her desires for her partner. It was interesting to see the audience reaction as for most of the night there was a raucous laughter until this point. Silence filled the room and perhaps to some shock. It was brilliant.
Dickie Beau is brilliant. This was more than just a cabaret show. He made you listen, think and react.