Bart was an East End Cockney from a poor Jewish family. At the height of his success, he owned a huge home in Chelsea (the “Fun Palace”) where he held fabulous parties. Success didn’t last. Alcohol, changing times and a tendency to waste his money saw him declared bankrupt. His Robin Hood musical Twang! was a notorious flop. To settle debts he sold the rights to Oliver! and watched helplessly as others made fortunes from it.
Lionel ended up an alcoholic, living in a cramped flat above a laundrette, which is where our show takes place. But, like many who lived through the Blitz (the subject of one of his hit shows), Lionel kept smiling. Cameron Mackintosh called him “the least bitter man I have ever met”.
Although in the closet for most of his life, Lionel came out in the 1990s (he died in 1999). His friends included Judy Garland, Noel Coward, Keith Moon … and Barry Humphries, who Lionel cast as the undertaker in the very first production of Oliver!
Pianist/singer/writer/comedian Phil Scott is well known to cabaret audiences for his one-man shows, and has appeared many times at Chapel Off Chapel, The Butterfly Club and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. His shows with other performers include The Twink and The Showgirl (with Vincent Hooper), Mario (with Blake Bowden), Newley Discovered (with Hugh Sheridan) and he co-wrote Fat Swan and Little Orphan Trashley with Trevor Ashley. Phil was also Script Consultant on Priscilla, Queen of the Desert The Musical (directed by Simon Phillips).
Reviewing the Situation
Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Performances: 18 – 20 Jun 2015
Information and Bookings: www.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au
Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Performances: 24 – 25 June 2015
Information and Bookings: www.melbournecabaret.com
Image: Phil Scott as Lionel Bart in Reviewing the Situation (supplied)