Adelaide Cabaret Festival – Olivia Newton John

olivia newton john david campbell
Olivia Newton-John and David Campbell. Photo by Kurt Sneddon

She’s sold more than 100 million records worldwide, she’s starred in one of the most well-loved movie musicals of all time, she’s won four Grammies, an Emmy, an OBE and has been inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and she’s the headliner of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2011.

It’s not surprising then that expectations (and ticket prices) were high for Olivia Newton-John’s performance in the Festival Theatre. Welcomed by standing ovations which continued throughout the 90 minute show, the first thing you realise about this dynamic woman who has publicly battled cancer, been a guest on Glee and worn a spandex leotard in public and lived to tell the tale, she has stamina.

The concert (as this was not strictly cabaret) showcased Newton-John’s career spanning four decades including the popular favourites ‘Xanadu’, ‘I Honestly Love You’ and ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’ as well as a range of career hits for the more die-hard fans.

Highlights included the medley of country songs, which brought Newton-John’s career to the fore in the US and the fun ‘You’re the One That I Want’ from Grease, featuring Festival Director, David Campbell in the Danny role (pictured) followed by a sing-along ‘Summer Nights’.

Any artist who can get an entire crowd on their feet, getting “physical” should be applauded and Newton-John was evidently appreciated. Her band were augmented by the hard-working Adelaide Art Orchestra and even the most cynical of audience members was bound to have left the theatre humming the songs and swept up in the star power.

Although not quite cabaret (even if you do throw in quick rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’), Olivia Newton John was certainly a headlining class act.

11 – 12 June

Hayley Horton

Hayley was an arts worker in South Australia for twelve years working freelance for small to medium clients as well as for companies such as the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, State Theatre Company SA, Urban Myth Theatre of Youth and the Australia Business Arts Foundation. As part of her freelance work, Hayley founded the ATG Curtain Call Awards (which is now an annual gala event), co-produced three 24 Hour Show charity fundraiser events, has judged for the Adelaide Fringe Festival and reviewed for Aussie Theatre and the Adelaide Theatre Guide. Hayley now runs a boutique events and arts management business, Footlight Events and in her spare time, is involved with Adelaide’s amateur theatre community as a producer, performer and director.

Hayley Horton

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