As the lead in smash musical Jersey Boys (handpicked for his role by Frankie Valli, no less) Bobby Fox is no stranger to the world stage; but he proved he has as much respect for small stages and, indeed, small crowds, when he performed his Fantastic Mr Fox show at Katoomba RSL last Saturday.
"Though you be but small, you are rowdy!" he said with a grin, as he warmed the modest - but enthusiastic - audience with the infectious hits of Jersey Boys, performed with enough pizazz for a whole stadium of admirers.
Accompanied by vocalist Emily Harlow and a stellar six-piece ensemble, Fox was justly rewarded with happily dancing audience members at the opening bars of Four Seasons favourite Sherry, while the crowd sing-a-long in Bye Bye Baby almost usurped the singer's final note. Joining the dancers on the floor and recruiting one of the vocal audience members for that falsetto finish, respectively, Fox delighted in audience interaction and won hearts all over the room.
Though Valli's hits kept coming throughout the night, Fox was primarily there to showcase his own musical endeavours, performing select originals and covers from his recent solo debut The Fantastic Mr Fox: "a 60s mod jazz concept album". From the sassy punch of Mr Kicks, to the irresistible cha-cha-cha of Andy Williams' House Of Bamboo, to the nostalgic Nat King Cole classic Let There Be Love, the retro vibe flowed seamlessly all night. So too did the banter, self-deprecating humour, and the joyous showmanship that oozes from Fox's spontaneous dance breaks and interactions with his band. It will be tricky for him to move away from the Jersey Boys label, but for now Bobby Fox is striking the right balance: happy to indulge fans with old favourites, but also showing an entertaining and confident solo identity.
Can sing, can dance, can charm. Watch out for Mr Fox.
- Bobby Fox performed at Katoomba RSL on January 10.