Edinburgh Festival Fringe music review: Late Night Phantasmagoria with Jack Lukeman, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Jay Richardson.
A prowling, bohemian spirit with a hammy, showman’s capacity to work a room akin to that of his countryman Bono, Jack Lukeman and his juggernaut four-piece band deserve much greater numbers than they’re getting to their shadowy, late-night cabaret. Opening with the belting, glam rock-infused composition King of Soho, still resonating long after they reprise it ahead of the encore, the top-hatted, shades-sporting ringmaster slaps a rich, resonating baritone on Randy Newman’s wry apology standard, Guilty, and a sonorous, yearning falsetto on the parenting-dedicated Rooftop Lullaby.
Roaming between and around the seating banks, you can’t fault the Irishman’s commitment to creating a mood, even if it veers spectacularly between Weimar Republic-era laments to the contemporary, raw guttural howl of Sky News Blues. Subtlety was never going to be an option for this perfunctory, under an hour performance, which is a shame because he shows signs of being a truly affecting torch singer amidst the bombastic guitar solos, boozy-woozy shanties and general theatrics.
With little difficulty in getting the majority of the regrettably sparse crowd up and dancing, Lukeman speaks of electrifying the Spiegeltent, festooning his accordion in red LEDs as he proffers his songs of “wickedness and wonder”. But he doesn’t have the scope to make fully good on this promise, leaving one wondering what might have been in more accommodating circumstances.
The Famous Spiegeltent (Venue 87)
Published in The Scotsman on 1 September 2015
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