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Mark Nadler shows the beauty of Cole Porter’s music

Mark Nadler’s great talent, aside from being a brilliant pianist, is his ability to show us songs we’ve potentially heard hundreds of times in a new light.

Direct from New York City Nadler made his first ever appearance in Western Australia at the Perth International Cabaret Festival on Thursday night Downstairs at the Maj.

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A aficionado of the work of songwriter Cole Porter, Nadler presented a show that was equal parts music and storytelling as he analysed Porter’s life and the hidden meaning behind his much loved music.

Opening up with some of Porter’s well known list songs including Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love the audience was quickly impressed with Nadler’s piano skills and ability to shift from quiet reflection to barnstorming bravado.

Dressed in smoking jacket, with martini in hand, Nadler guided us through Porter’s upper class upbringing in Indiana, and his own more modest beginnings in a small town in the US mid-west.

Both found success in New York, and while Nadler is out and proud, Porter lived in a time where sexuality was more cloaked and language more coded.

Sharing stories of how Porter found success later in life, he was well into his 40’s when he began having hit songs, and how he found the perfect match with wife Linda Lee Thomas, Nadler set the scene for some of Porter’s most passionate numbers.

In the Still of the Night and At Long Last Love we captivating, and Nadler had a lot of fun with Can-Can, kicking his heels up from his piano stool.

While quite a few of Porter’s super-hits were included like You’re the Top, I really appreciated this wasn’t a show that tried to jam in as many of Porter’s much loved songs as possible, many artists would have been tempted to do a medley of his greatest hits. This presentation allowed some of his lesser known songs to shine.

Mark Nadler’s Cole Porter After Dark has a second performance on Friday night, and he’ll be part of the Gala Performance on Saturday too.

See all the remaining show at the Perth International Cabaret Festival website.

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