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.