Rebel is a sometimes acrobatic, constantly majestic celebration of the work of David Bowie. You couldn’t ask for a better salve to ease away the troubles and uncertainly of the current world outside Gasworks Arts Park than the entertainment provided by the six artists on stage.
Lead by Stewart Reeve on lead vocals, each number was accompanied by a wonderful display of circus and aerial artistry. Sure, the odd walking-on-glass-bottles-while-wearing-platform-heels moment had you watching the stage through the narrowest gaps in your fingers, but each scene proved an excellent fit for the song it accompanied.
Stewart strides out in Yamamoto inspired garb and gave a sterling performance. Bowie was famous for his vocal range and Stewart absolutely does the man and his work proud here. When not belting out some lovely saxophone, Rockie Stone more than engaged the audience with some tremendous displays of strength and balance.
Matthew Anderson was excellent on keys (keyboard and keytar) and in his poise and control during a range of acrobatic and juggling routines. Whether contorting on silks or the trapeze, Jane Schofield was great on bass guitar and graceful in the air.
Chris Springer on electric guitar provided much of the musical fuel throughout the hour-long set, which made his own aerial work (including a brief-but-brilliant turn at Starman on ukulele. While balancing upside-down. On his head.) lovely to watch.
While others provided fuel, the engine of Rebel was undoubtedly Rachel Trainor on drums, acoustic guitar, and vocals. There was a glorious ferocity to Rachel’s playing that drove so many of the songs forward, insisting that you pay attention in the best way.
Admittedly, I tend to hit skip often when the Pet Shop Boys remix of Spaceboy comes on, but no longer. Rachel’s blistering percussion was a perfect lead into their version and a fine example of one of the show’s best qualities.
Sure, the audience get no shortage of hits and fan favourites, but whether it’s a mournful Lazarus or haunting Loving the Alien, Stewart and the band don’t hesitate to explore Bowie’s lesser played numbers.
Bowie famously said on his 50th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden, “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise I won’t bore you.” Indeed, there is not one sliver of Rebel that bores or fails to captivate or entertain. It’s a fun, fantastic display of art and spectacle – much like the man himself.
Gasworks Theatre, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park
Performance: Wednesday 30 June 2021
Season continues to 3 July 2021
Information and Bookings: www.gasworks.org.au
Image: Rebel – photo by Brig Bee
Review: David Collins