“You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality.” – Walt Disney.
Disney-esque dreams were made a reality thanks to Robert Jonathan James, the man behind the Stories Through Song cabaret series. James sang his way through ninety minutes of well known, not so well known, classic and recent Disney songs in a show that delighted Disney fans of all ages.
In the intimate setting of Fedora’s at the Hilton Hotel, James, wearing his Mickey Mouse t-shirt, began the show by walking through the crowd singing When You Wish Upon a Star (Pinocchio). He engaged with each guest via eye contact and a smile, making us all feel welcome and part of the show. This he often did throughout the performance. It was a lovely technique that broke down barriers between the artist and audience and created a friendly and relaxing atmosphere.
A mammoth eighteen songs were included in Stories Through Song that allowed all eras of Disney to be enjoyed by the multi-generational crowd. Many involved costumes – I Wan’na Be like You (The Monkey Song) (The Jungle Book), Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat (The Aristocats), Perfect Isn’t Easy (Oliver and Company), Be Prepared (The Lion King).
Others involved props – I’ll Make a Man Out of You (Mulan), Reindeer(s) are Better than People (Frozen), I’ve Got a Dream (Tangled).
Some championed James’ voice – Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah (Song of the South), Beauty and the Beast (Beauty and the Beast).
While others were shared with guests from the audience – Friend Like Me (Aladdin), You’re Welcome (Moana), Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid), Poor Unfortunate Souls (The Little Mermaid), Hakuna Matata (The Lion King).
Highlights included the always inspiring Let It Go (Frozen) that saw James shine in an Elsa costume. The ostensibly impromptu Love is an Open Door (Frozen) duet with “audience member” Nathanial which was actually a well-planned and executed ruse. Finally, Surface Pressure from Disney’s latest animated film, Encanto.
Stories Through Song – Disney-esque captured the magic of Disney and made it a joyous reality. Adults and children of all ages rejoiced and sang along with Robert Jonathan James as together we shared in a mutual love of all things, Disney.
Adelaide Fringe Review By Anita Kertes