When a performer can hold an audience under their yoke for over an hour with no microphone, no props, just piano accompaniment and excitement, that’s truly a real talent. And this is Paul Capsis. His new solo show, Dry my tearsis in the tradition of an old-fashioned nightclub number in which he sings a selection of torch classics, backed 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 renovated 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 excitement was palpable.
The song list included vintage cabaret, bleeding-heart standards, theater gems, and a modern pop tune or two handled by Capsis/Greep. Starting, aptly, with “Willkommen” by Cabaret — and momentarily resuming his standout performance as emcee in the 2017 Hayes Theater production — Capsis moves through an eclectic mix of melodies.
The grungy “Alabama Song” (Brecht/Weill), the quirky “George” (Weinstein/Bolcom), the sentimental “Falling In Love Again” (Hollander), the heartbreaking “And So It Goes” (Joel), the sassy ” You’ve Got to See Mama Ev’ry Night” (Rose/Conrad), are part of a clever selection of songs that take you through the full gamut of human emotions.
Capsis is the proportionate artist. Although small in stature, he is larger than life on stage, filling the auditorium with his personality and simultaneously performing in front of a crowd and each individual patron in the audience. His face and voice are incredibly springy and he manipulates both to great comedic effect.
A seasoned and confident performer, Capsis relates easily and genuinely to the audience without being arrogant. There is a generosity, a humility in his performance, and the sheer joy he clearly takes in his craft is contagious.
Burgundy red velvet suit, gold sequined shirt, black top hat and diamond set-up.
July 23, 7:30 p.m. at Neilson, Pier 2/3, Hickson Rd, Dawes Point.
July 30, 6 p.m.; 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