MEDIA 2001


The Sydney Morning Herald
Andrea Dixon

David "The Hawk" Hawkins creates delicious mayhem with his Kabarett "Nom De Plume". His performance is a hilariously outrageous dig at members of polite society which, as it turns out not so polite particularly his
extraordinarily funny sketch of an aging barrister in the bath...His razor sharp humour comes through loud and clear with a delicious subtext for those willing to think about what this dynamic young performer is

Co-writer Wednesday Kennedy's input is as clever as it is naughty. No-one is spared from cocaine sniffing dilettantes' who remain living in the realm of 1930s Berlin to those behind the trashing of Sydney's Her Majesty's Theatre. Nom de Plume is a comic romp up and down Australia's east coast. While The Hawk can fly great heights, he can also sing the house down; people will adore Nom De Plume.


















Emma Jones

Tina Arena isn't the only one getting into cabaret this year. A new club in Bondi shows Sydney why kitsch is always cool.

No, he isn't styling himself as an action hero, but "The Hawk" does have a rescue operation in mind. And in this case the damsel in distress isn't Kirsten Dunst. It's the Sydney cabaret scene and, with a new show, a new persona and a new venue, David Hawkins is proving that cabaret's still got that swing.

Like old-style cocktails, cabaret is fast moving from the domain of old ladies back to the realm of retro cool. And David Hawkins, aka "The Hawk" is helming the new movement with the recent opening of a new performance space in Bondi.

Kabarett Junction, where 1930s Germany meets the beach, is located in the heart of Bondi Mall, above Arthur's Pizza. It regularly features groovy young talent (one of the recent performers was Christine Anu) and is now hosting Nom de Plume, a show in which Hawkins shares his views on
life, the universe and everything. This musical bird of prey is honing in on everyone from lawyers, drug addicts, celebrities and hippies (and a few combinations of the above). And aside from keeping you amused by bagging everyone in sight, the show will get you mellow with over twenty new and retro hits to help your martini go down smooth.

So, social satire, good music, food and drink, and genuine comfort, along with the comfort of knowing you're enjoying the newest old thing around. Which all goes to show that, like the smurfs, cabaret is only as camp as you want it to be.












New York Cabaret Online
David M Schwartz
14 December 2001

After being away from Australian cabaret from September to early December of last year, it has taken me quite a long time to get back into the cabaret scene here. 

Perhaps this was due to my experience of the changed energy in the USA or maybe it was simply post-vacation malaise.  Whatever the reason, I have been taking time out from reviewing to have a dispassionate look at the cabaret scene here in Sydney.

I was a bit disillusioned when I left for my holiday. Two of the five venues that regularly featured cabaret had altered their booking policy for the worse; one was now featuring stand-up comedy and rock bands while the other had decided to curtail cabaret to one weekend a month. By the time I returned to Australia, I learned that cabaret had a new lease on life: two new performance spaces had opened up. 

Kabarett Junction, one of the new  venues, was my first port of call soon after my return.  Before talking about the show, let me tell you about David Hawkins, the guiding hand who set up the room and starred in the first show there.  Hawkins is a singer/actor who has been working in cabaret since 1996. 

Prior to that he worked in various productions with the Australian Opera.  In addition to his singing career, David Hawkins
managed The Kirk, a unique performance space in Sydney where young cabaret artists were given the chance to gain essential experience.

"Nom de Plume" was the solo show that David Hawkins chose to inaugurate Kabarett Junction.  I first saw this act in an abbreviated version at Side On Café in February, 2001. The show was clearly inspired by the German kabarett of the Weimar Republic.  The "nom de plume" of the title refers to the performer's nickname, "the Hawk."  As David stated in his opening patter, "the Hawk will take you on a flight like no other, and he has some juicy prey: everyone from solicitors and prostitutes to addicts and celebrities." 

What followed was a procession of vignettes, each characterized in monologue and song. Hawkins had clearly structured the show as social commentary. This was a lament for the loss of what was unique and genuine qualities in society and a critique of the synthetic values that have taken their place.  By counterposing the present day charlatans (the lawyers and celebrities) with the outsiders of yesteryear (the prostitutes and addicts), Hawkins very skilfully dramatized his theme.

However, this was no intellectual exercize in the style of German theater that might have been written by Brecht; this was musical entertainment of the highest order.

David Hawkins selected material from a variety of sources (rock, pop, show tunes) to carry his narrative theme.  From the opening medley of "The Whole Shebang" (Buffalo), "Space Oddity" (Bowie) and "Spinning Wheel" (Thomas) it was clear that there was a finely tuned musical sensibility at work.  The twenty-three songs that followed maintained this high level of selection.  In addition to his choice of music, Hawkins used a series of cleverly constructed medleys to forward his theme and cross-reference what had gone before. 

As a performer, David Hawkins has a strong baritone with a very good high range.  He is an high energy performer who is not afraid to exploit the emotional content of a song's lyric, but it was his handling of the dramatic elements of each song that made the show so special.

It would be difficult to single out highlights in "Nom de Plume," but I will mention some of my favorite moments in Hawkins' portrayal of this diverse gallery of characters: The young person yearning for true love ("All I Want" by Mitchell) or any love ("Any Guy" by Safka); the pomposity of the lawyer as characterized by "Style" (Schwartz); the hymn of the fan longing for the greatness of old movie stars in "Celluloid Heroes" (Davies/Raymond); the prostitute singing of hard life on the streets in "The Circle" (Piaf/Ebb) and the haunting song of gay man in "Lavender Nights" (Spoliansky); and the lament of the addict who is torn between sobriety, addiction and loss in a stunning medley of "I Don't Care Much" (Kander/Ebb) and "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" (Seeger/Colpet). 

What was striking was the skill with which Hawkins managed to marry such diverse source material into a coherent whole.

A word of appreciation must be given to Andrew Worboys, Hawkins' musical collaborator. This was my first opportunity to hear his work; it was impressive. He performed in a variety of styles, ranging from barrel-house to rock to gentle ballads. In each case, Worboys was able to gauge his sound to perfectly fit the songs that Hawkins had chosen without allowing us to hear a change of gears.

Because this was the final cabaret performance at Kabarett Junction for the year, David Hawkins invited three young artists (Blazey Best, Rodger Corser and Christine Anu) to join him in a series of numbers that provided the audience with an added holiday bonus.

True to form, Hawkins used his own show to promote other local performers.  On the basis of this show, Kabarett Junction will be a space to return to. 


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