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Kurt – Adelaide Cabaret Festival

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Kurt - World Premiere
on Friday 08 June 2012
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Adelaide Cabaret Festival - Justin Burford

Justin Burford. Image: supplied

The musical legacy of Kurt Cobain has influenced a generation of songwriters. The familiar and spellbinding blend of rock and grunge showered the Nirvana front-man with unthinkable fame and notoriety. In Kurt, the success and influence of the music is heightened by the tale of Cobain’s rock and roll life – the story of the man behind the legend.

Justin Burford, front-man for End of Fashion and star of Rock of Ages, portrays Cobain to perfection, expertly interpreting his vocal nuances – the smoothness of his melodies and the gravel of his grunge. A believable accent is maintained throughout all of the dialogue that, while occasionally faltering or stilted, provides useful links between musical numbers.

The performance of Nirvana hits, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘Rape Me’, met rapturous applause, but it was the incorporation of lesser-known B-sides which provided most insight into the man behind the music. A clear crowd favourite was a rendition of ‘About a Girl’, highlighting Cobain’s unlikely but obvious influence from The Beatles.

"Justin Burford … portrays Cobain to perfection, expertly interpreting his vocal nuances – the smoothness of his melodies and the gravel of his grunge"

The sound and lighting enabled this production to function as cabaret rather than a simple rock concert. Cobain’s humble musical beginnings were paralleled by simple sound and lights, which grew over time to provide an exhilarating experience comparable to an arena concert. The multimedia projection to the side of stage was confusing and unnecessary and, at least for the first half of the show, diverted attention away from the stage.

The world premiere of Kurt at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival will thrill fans of Nirvana and Kurt Cobain, and enlighten the masses. The energy of the music coupled with the troubled story of Cobain’s short but eventful existence is a recipe for biographical cabaret success.

 

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Rowan has written 55 articles on AussieTheatre
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  • Nirvana Fan

    I went to see this with 4 people on the Sunday session. We were expecting, being in the cabaret festival, an unplugged version Kurt Cobain. Just a man, guitar, and a crowd. This would have been plenty. What we got was absolutely mind blowing. Within the first 10 seconds of hearing Justin sing, we all had smiles on our faces. It was like being back in 1992 and hearing Nirvana live in concert. Justin portrayed Kurt amazingly, even finding his famous “Smells Like Teen Spirit” striped t-shirt to wear! It was also interesting to hear him talk about significant events and times that the songs related to in Kurt’s life as the show progressed. The band were amazing as well, bringing “Nirvana’s” music to life. Huge amounts of energy was poured into the whole performance.
    The one disappointing thing of the night…… the crowd didnt get into it! If you are a true Nirvana/Kurt fan, you cannot sit still when listening to this influential music, you have to get up and move people!
    A brilliant show performed by brilliant musicians….. We will definitely see it again and again and again!!