Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Dunstan Playhouse
Until 11 Jun 2018

Review by Kylie Pedler

“Hayes and McKenney are doing a show!”

The ‘boy with a smile’ and the ‘older woman with a resume’ grace the Adelaide Festival stage in an elegantly constructed masterpiece about two iconic performers and Australian musical history.

Their rapport is evident as they share the stage. With the class of the ‘Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers era’, these two entertaining veterans sing, dance and even cheekily mock moments of each other’s career highlights (and all-time lows) all while sharing memories of their amazing journey from their first collaboration in "42nd Street" back in 1989 to today. Songs, accompanied by the wonderful Cabaret Band, include snippets of a range of numbers from their individual and joint journeys on stage and screen. Photos and Film clips of distinguishable career highlights are projected on a gold trimmed screen suspended above the stage. Both share memories of their childhood and early experiences on stage, and the significant father and mother figures in their lives. Cleverly written, beautifully staged, it is sentimental and funny.

Amongst the many numbers, McKenney sings an emotional “Tenterfield Saddler” with an on screen Peter Allen and Hayes shines in “Adelaide’s Lament” from “Guys and Dolls”. Another big highlight is the musical test: a cleverly interwoven medley of songs from shows they have appeared in.

However, the true showstopper is their replicating of the original routine, “Tap your Troubles Away” performed on the Midday show. Flawless technique, style and class exhibited as they box-stepped and time-stepped across the stage, proving age is no barrier!

Despite their accolades: numerous leading roles, recognition on “This Is Your Life”, a Sydney theatre named after Hayes; it’s what happens on stage and how they enthral the beast (the audience) that matters. The thunderous applause proves that centre stage (with your arms up) is STILL where these two belong.