When a performer can hold an audience in his thrall for over an hour with no mic, no props, just a piano accompaniment and his effervescence, that is a true talent indeed. And that is Paul Capsis. His new solo show, Dry My Tears, is in the tradition of a stripped down, old school night club act in which he sings a selection of torch classics, supported only by silver-fingered keyboardist and associate artistic director of The Song Company, Francis Greep.
Performing in The Neilson room, an intimate studio in the newly refurbished Pier 2/3 arts complex, Capsis imbued the space with his warmth and eagerness to entertain. He shared more than once how thrilled he was to finally be “off the couch” and performing again, and that enthusiasm was palpable.
The songlist included vintage cabaret, bleeding-heart standards, theatre gems, and one or two modern pop tunes given the Capsis/Greep treatment. Beginning, aptly, with “Willkommen” from Cabaret – and momentarily reprising his remarkable performance as the Emcee in the 2017 Hayes Theatre production – Capsis moves through an eclectic mix of tunes.
The grungy “Alabama Song” (Brecht/Weill), the quirky “George” (Weinstein/Bolcom), the sentimental “Falling In Love Again” (Hollander), the heart-wrenching “And So It Goes” (Joel), the sassy “You’ve Got to See Mama Ev’ry Night” (Rose/Conrad), are among a canny selection of songs that take you through the gamut of human emotion.
Capsis is the commensurate entertainer. Though diminutive in stature, he is larger than life on stage, filling the auditorium with his personality and playing simultaneously to a crowd and to each individual patron in the audience. His face and voice are super-humanly elastic and he manipulates both to great comic effect.
A seasoned, confident artist, Capsis has an easy, genuine rapport with the audience without being cocky. There’s a generosity, humility in his performance, and the sheer joy he clearly takes in his craft is contagious.
Claret-red velvet suit, gold glitter shirt, black top hat, and diamond showmanship.
July 23, 7:30pm at The Neilson, Pier 2/3, Hickson Rd, Dawes Point.
July 30, 6pm; July 31, 5pm at Sydney Film School, 242 Young St, Waterloo
Tickets and info: https://the.song.company/higher-ground-2022/c/0/i/60351535/dry-my-tears