Fresh take on love song dedications

Jun 07, 2015

In this world premiere, actor and singer John O’Hara perfectly captures the passion and heartbreak of love in a show inspired by Richard Mercer’s late-night radio program Love Songs and Dedications.

The Cabaret Festival show sees O’Hara play multiple love-struck characters who are phoning in to share their stories of love and loss with the show’s unseen DJ, “The Love God”.

Each character’s story is unique. Some are humorous, some are tragic and some are hopelessly romantic but all play out against a soundtrack of love songs (and the occasional break-up song/female power ballad) from artists including Aerosmith, Whitney Houston, Meatloaf and Taylor Swift.

As the show unfolds, O’Hara channels personas including a hormone-driven teenage girl, hapless lothario Travis, whose accent and mannerisms are a source of constant amusement, and ageing romantic Frank, who proves once and for all that it’s never too late for love.

John O'Hara.

John O’Hara.

O’Hara effortlessly adapts his vocal tones, body language and facial expressions to create a unique voice and identity for each individual. His teenage girl character is vapid, foul-mouthed and utterly annoying, but her dedication to her now ex-boyfriend is hilarious and O’Hara’s performance of the Pussycat Dolls’ “I Don’t Need a Man” is a highlight.

As the show continues, the stories become raunchier, with his portrayal of a cheating wife both entertaining and a little uncomfortable to watch (Dedications does contain strong sexual content and coarse language).

O’Hara, whose previous credits include the touring musicals Cats and Wicked, has a strong stage presence, powerful voice and impressive vocal range which commands the audience’s attention. H is ability to transition from one gender to another is utterly convincing.

Featuring time-honoured love songs such as “I Will Always Love You” and “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”, Dedications is an enjoyable – and at times surprisingly steamy – celebration of love in all its glory.

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Dedications is playing in the Artspace Theatre again tonight (Sunday) and Monday night as part of the 2015 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

More Adelaide Cabaret Festival stories and reviews here.


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