23rd Aug, 1900 (2010) @ The Famous Spiegel Tent
Imagine Noel Coward, Oscar Wilde and Marc Bolan all hooked up for one wild night. Somehow this tryst produces a very pretty, very fey baby boy. Marinated in vodka and spiced liberally with cocaine and stardust, the child is gifted with Coward’s arch elegance, Wilde’s intellectual debauchery, and Bolan’s sense of theatre. And some years later, now all grown up, the man Dusty Limits steps into the Famous Spiegel Tent and blows our minds.
The show starts off slowly, with Dusty doing some lower-key songs and seeming, on this occasion, to take some time to find his feet. But almost before the audience has a chance to notice, Dusty has drawn us into his decadent, joyfully narcissistic world.
The songs range from ballads to pop to more upbeat comic numbers, with Dusty taking the audience on an emotional rollercoaster of pathos, black humour, love, hate, and self-obsession. He happily mixes and matches his own original compositions, a very funny reworking of “Natalie Imbruglia’s only hit”, and covers of Sondheim, Weill and more – each performed with Dusty’s trademark twist of debauched elegance. The undoubted highlight is a breathtaking rendition of Portishead’s “Give Me a Reason” which shows off Dusty’s vocal range to stunning effect and leaves the audience in an uproar.
The audience for this one-off show was largely populated by cabaret glitterati and there is no doubt as to why Dusty Limits has such a following, he is simply the best at what he does and a chance to see him perform should never be missed.