Kym Purling & Co. In Music On The Menu @ Luigi Delicatessen, Adelaide 23/2/2022

A trend has emerged of shows offering dining inclusions at this year’s Fringe as audiences seek to be fed as well as entertained. Award-winning Luigi Delicatessen is one such venue, promising fine Italian fare as accompaniment to first-time Fringe performer Kym Purling and his company.

Part cabaret, part jazz club, and all heart, Kym Purling’s show was a seamless spectacular. Purling, new to the Adelaide Fringe, is no newcomer to performing in Adelaide or on a global stage. Having been a regular on the 1990s Adelaide live music circuit, residencies at Cargo club and Tapas complemented Purling’s studies at the Elder Conservatorium. Purling then spent 20 years touring the world with the likes of Engelbert Humperdinck and Natalie Cole.

Arriving at Luigi Delicatessen, we were greeted by wait staff who promptly served us drinks and then asked if there were any food allergies. In line with the restaurant’s no menu concept, we were then served a beautiful selection of pasta, ragu, quail, salad, and osso bucco. Service was quick, friendly, and the food all served up prior to the start of the show.

Renowned as a jazz pianist, Purling surprised the audience by starting off with a vocal number We’ve got a world that swings. While his voice is pitch perfect and a pleasure to listen to, Purling really hit his stride during his time at the piano. A consummate jazz performer, Purling was accompanied by bassist Tim Bowen and drummer Josh Baldwin during numbers such as I Got Rhythm, Feelings, and Johnny Comes Marching. For me, the highlight of Purling’s performance was Tomorrow from Annie, and the trio’s rendition of Yesterday. For someone who has also played that piano at Luigi’s, it has never sounded as good for me!

Another standout for the night was guest vocalist Jyoti Singh. Here is a talent to keep an eye on and her beautifully delivered Fields of Gold was mesmerising. It was wonderful to see Purling’s mentorship and championship of rising stars such as Singh and pianist Marco Callisto. Callisto accompanied Purling during his vocal numbers with aplomb, precision, and mastered technicality.

Speaking with other audience guests who had seen Purling perform on previous occasions, we all agreed that more numbers spent at the piano showcasing his exceptional talent would have made for an even better night. Some guests had travelled from regional South Australia to attend the show based on Purling’s reputation as a jazz pianist and whilst they enjoyed his singing, were there for his playing. While these guests were quick to give the night a six-star rating, perhaps future Fringe performances can be adapted to fit in more time at the keys for Purling.

The final number of the evening saw all performers and Luigi on the stage – it was a fitting finale to a wonderful dining and entertainment experience. Given the limited degrees of separation in Adelaide, it’s no wonder that Purling and Luigi’s dining institution are both well known to me. That said, for audiences looking for world-class entertainment and food, this is an exceptional offering.

Fringe Review By Kim Burley

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