Adelaide Cabaret Festival Review: Edge of Reality

As part of Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Edge of Reality, created by Paul Grabowsky AO and starring legendary Aussie performers Joe Camilleri and Deborah Conway, is a unique tribute to Elvis Presley.

WORDS: Dave Bradley, Arts Reviewer

Perhaps inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis (or, well, perhaps not), this Paul-Grabowsky-created show was as Elvis-sy as possible without Elvis himself being there. Or perhaps he was…?

Pianist Paul took to the stage with seven other musos, and then Deborah Conway strode on to perform a suitably scorching version of The King’s Burning Love, before commencing a funny monologue about the perils of stardom which, at first, many assumed was about her, but was revealed as a word-for-word, quintessentially Elvis-esque onstage speech. Deborah then tore into Don’t Be Cruel, and after this Joe Camilleri (also wearing a very Elvis/Vegas-style white suit) strutted in to do another two numbers solo, one of which was the somewhat obscure – but very sweet – True Love.

These two dead-set Aussie music legends shared vocal duties on a lovely, straight-ish take on Love Me Tender (as well as a chummy hug), but there were some unusual readings of the classics as they went along, with the violinist at one point offering what almost sounded like the intro to an Irish folk song. Joe also couldn’t resist grabbing his own sax for the titular tune, which meant that he had to duel with the actual saxophonist in a brief but cool highlight.

There were a few minor issues (including Joe slightly fudging the lyrics to In The Ghetto), but it scarcely mattered because the love for everything Elvis was so powerful, right down to the final, extended version of… well, you can probably guess. And Deborah and Joe certainly had strong enough hearts and nerves of steel to give it everything they got, um, had.

Than’ you Ma’am.

The second and final performance of Edge Of Reality is at the Dunstan Playhouse on Thursday June 15 at 7.30pm

Photo credit: Claudio Raschella

Adelaide Cabaret Festival

9 – 24 June 2023



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