I first heard about the charming and gifted musician Doc White when I accidentally sent him an invite to the monthly Debonair Lunch, an industry and invite only event for professional musicians, actors and entertainers. When he contacted me asking did I mean to send him an invite, I replied saying it must be fate and we have been friends ever since.
Doc White is one of those rare entertainers whose talent encompasses a variety of genres. He is a regular muso, writes and performs in his own burlesque show, sings, acts, is a playwright, plays guitar and mandolin, creates fun music, has spot on comedic timing and gets beautiful and sexy burlesque ladies to do unbelievable twists and turns with their bodies.
Wow, what a dude!
His Lowdown Hokum Orchestra and Burlesque Revue, the show I saw at Docklands Spiegel Tent toured Adelaide recently, was highlighted in The Adelaide Fringe Festival and on Channel 9 extensively.
However, he has performed his show at Three Palms Spiegel Tent in Sorrento and hopes to be back there when it cranks up again. Before this his music was and still is played on ABC Radio, was featured on ABC’s The Planet radio program for National radio and he’s been written up in Rhythms, Beat and Clothesline magazines. Back in 2004 his song Cropduster Blues was voted ‘Song of the Year’ at the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society. So he’s no stranger to success.
Lowdown Hokum Orchestra and Burlesque Revue is an eight-piece act made up of Doc White (vocals, guitar/mandolin) Nichaud Fitzgibbon (vocals/percussion) Tony Martin (drums), Paul Williamson (saxophone/clarinet), Alex Black (fiddle), Mark Cutler (actor) and Howard Cairns (double bass). The show also features two extraordinary burlesque dancers in Miss Bettie Bombshell and Bella De Jac.
White’s original songs are jazz, blues, and rock infused and gets you into a happy place peppered with curiosity early on in his show as you keep wondering ‘what will happen next?’.
Described by Doc as ‘more than a gig but less than a musical’, the idea behind the show was born from the proposition that many of the best live songs are simply snapshots of human experience. “Like any good novel or short story, a good song should have a beginning, a middle, and an end and say something that resonates. With that in mind, I wondered if it was possible to construct a musical experience, which used different songs by different writers in an idiom with which I was familiar to illustrate a longer narrative. The songs carry the show and the dialogue provides the general direction the story takes.” says White.
The story revolves around the central character of Jazz Diva, Dee Dee Delore played by Fitzgibbon. Dee Dee puts together a show about her life in show business in order to reinvigorate her career. Against the wishes of her director and husband, played by Mark Cutler, Dee Dee hires her former musical partner and lover, Doc White, who plays himself in the show. With tensions rising the show opens as we meet them for the first time one week into rehearsals.
This is a first time venture into burlesque for White and it’s been a fascinating and rewarding experience as everyone has collaborated wonderfully. His performers are seasoned professionals and due to the fact the music is the main medium through which the story is told, he chose right with his current line up as they understand the vocabulary of burlesque and add their particular style to the songs. “Great songs deserve excellent players,” claims White.
Fortunately for all us burlesque fans, the Lowdown Hokum Orchestra and Burlesque Review have released their first album titled That’s Showbiz and features all the songs from the show. It’s a happy energetic album. For me, with each listen a memory pops up and I relive particular parts of the show again.
The show will tour the Sydney Fringe Festival in September then head back to the Melbourne Fringe Festival afterwards along with showcasing at local venues such as The Flying Saucer Club, Three Palms Spiegel Tent in Sorrento, at Docklands, and elsewhere around the burbs.
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