Bouncing, giggling, dynamic Ball of joy
Brisbane reviewed by Patricia Kelly ~
Michael Ball QPAC Lyric Theatre, March 30
It is impossible not to be swept along by the energy and verve of Michael Ball's performance and personality.
Clearly he is a creature of the theatre who knows how to use the stage and work an audience. For his first Brisbane appearance the Lyric Theatre was packed with fans familiar with his style and ready to jump to their feet at the slightest titillating provocation.
For 2 1/2 hours (minus interval) Ball the conqueror strutted the stage, irresistible with the dimpled cheeks, blue eyes sparkling with life and glee, carefully coiffed curls, boyish looks and larrikin touch.
The voice may not be the greatest ont he circuit but he sure knows how to use it, how to colour it, how to rein it in for the lullaby from Chitty Chittyy Bang Bang, the show he starred in at the London Palladium, or stretch it to capacity for the rugby union anthem and other numbers he worked to a frenzied finale.
With a band of Australian musicians flanking the entrance stair, a trio of vocal backers (Annie Skates, David Harris and Kaye Tuckerman) oo-ing and ah-ing to excellent effect, spotlights from all directions flooding a spectrum of colour over the hazy stage, Ball appeared through the glow to squeals of delight.
As the fans anticipated, Ball delivered, powering through hits from musicals Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Jekyll and Hyde and numbers such as Dancing in the Dark and What's the future (actually she meant Boy from nowhere; note from the editor). By the time he got to Just help yourself, relaxed and consolidating his conquest by stripping off the glitter tie he donned for the second half, would-be moshers from teens to grannies in glitter had rushed the stage. Had he continued the strip., the place would have erupted. But Ball halts before that level of hysteria.
Dazzling Australian guest singer Danielle Everett matched his intensity in a Phantom of the Opera duet and solo, her voice spanning a wide range of notes and emotions in a striking, tailored performance.
Ball is probably not overly tall, but he is a giant of a performer. Charisma may be a cliched term but Ball has it in abundance, an amazing, bouncing, giggling, dynamic bundle of joy and sincerity.