Tony Delarte - Alive at The School of Arts Cafe, Queanbeyan.February 6, 7 and 8, 1997. Professional Cabaret.
"If it's de-lightful, if it's de-lovely, it's delarte" says this "sophisticated, sensuous, unassuming megastar" direct from the Purple Pussycat Lounge, Las Vegas - if you can believe it.
Tony Delarte is an interesting character, probably a cousin of Frank Sinatra, even down to the Ol' Blue Eyes, except that he admits to the influence of his Mafioso family. This explains why his technical assistant "accidentally" fell out of his Lear Jet after not doing so good at the Pussycat - and why therefore his (real) assistant had not rehearsed the tape cues. In truth this was the only weakness of the show, though Tony used improvised ironic patter to cover up pretty well.
Patter and banter and direct participation with audience members made what I had feared might have been a simply nostalgic cabaret night into an enjoyable evening of parody. Delarte's turned down mouth and hooded eyes, presented in crafty profile, created a Sinatra-like character with that horribly smooth style and a voice almost as rounded and certainly with the characteristic tonal quality of the godfather of cabaret.
We found ourselves tracing a musical miscellany from songs like "I've got you under my skin" (a little lumpy), through Paul Anka (the Shakespeare of pop music); a rap about rap called "C-rap"; techno gym workout music with accompanying video of Succulente and Slab and a doll to work out with that you can eat afterwards; bar blues so sad that, Delarte claimed, a patron threatened suicide at the toilets out back during interval; Phantom of the Opera in strictly nightclub style; singing along with his cousin Louise Ciccone (Madonna - another family success story) doing her pop thing with Don't Cry for Me, Argentina; and ending with the love theme from Strictly Ballroom, Love is in the Air. And much more.
The food is good, the entertainment great - a hot night in Queanbeyan, the cultural centre of the South East. Or as Delarte's version of Sinatra sings: "New York, New York - just like Queanbeyan - the city that never sleeps. That's where I wanna be."© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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