Adelaide Cabaret Festival – Paris Combo

Paris Combo has been around for years, and it’s not hard to see why; or why they are so well-travelled internationally, and usually sell out.

Paris Combo.  Photo by Jorge Fidel Alvarez
Paris Combo. Photo by Jorge Fidel Alvarez

Front woman vocalist Belle du Berry tells us that the first song is all about love and then follows up with the second, third and so on about love too; each one introduced with a funny tale and kooky edge, as she shares love ditties about Paris – the city of love, (and not being able to find love there herself). It’s a fun lead into the show, and endears us to her and the team immediately.

Belle is a treat to be with, and listen to. Her vocals are clear and sweet, earthy and moody; and her attitude so playful and engaging that we know her well five minutes into the show. She dines out on her French language and attitude, and plays games with us constantly, and we love it. She’s naughty enough to let us drift into some darkness, and nice enough to make us her best friend.

It’s difficult to define Paris Combo’s gorgeous style, for it roves magnificently all over the place; the unexpected in the line-up captivating us; the broad range and their ability to drift in and out of all styles is this team’s main strength. And what an awesome musical team they are!

At times we are in a smoky French salon of the ’20s and ’30s, and then lifted into pure toe tapping sounds of the swing and jazz era; even transported to Spain and encouraged to join in with “Ole”, and there is a North African and Gypsy edge also. What a terrific fusion this is. “Get up and dance,” Belle keeps prompting, but it’s not the right venue for that. And I couldn’t help but think that if there was a big dance floor, it would have definitely been packed. (I know that I would’ve been on it). Maybe next time Cab Fest – I hope there is a next time, and I’m around.

It is the ease with which they present that makes our experience with them delightfully easy too. Their stage comfort, professionalism and content comes up trumps, completely. Paris Combo perform (most of) their songs in French and it sits wonderfully. We are in Paris all the way, and it’s so Cabaret! Great programming!

All four instrumentalists are as much the stars of the show as Belle; the Australian in the team, David, is outstanding on the trumpet and piano, and jumps into the talk a little with us at times. His musical contribution underpins the show; the trumpet work, some of the best I’ve heard in ages. Drummer, Francois, takes the stage with vocals for a while and gives an entirely different feel to the fare which works beautifully.

What a casual, cool and crystal clear show this is; with so many different funky styles that if you can’t groove to this one, I’d give up grooving and stay at home. This is pure entertainment: easy and light, lovely and sassy from the word go. I’d go again, for sure.

Stephen House

Stephen is a writer with numerous plays, exhibitions and short films produced. He has been commissioned often and directs and performs his work. He has won two AWGIE Awards from The Australian Writers Guild and an Adelaide Fringe Award (as well as more), and has received several international literature residencies. Stephen has been Artistic Director of many events. He has been performing his acclaimed solo show, “Appalling Behaviour” nationally from 2010 – 2014 (100 shows to date). Stephen has 2 new works in development.

Stephen House

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