I’d first heard of Tim Draxl about four or five years ago when, under the tutelage of Les Solomon, he was proclaimed as “the next big thing” following in the footsteps of David Campbell.
I actually interviewed him at the time. We spoke in particular about his interesting upbringing as one of four sons of Austrian-Australian ski instructors and of his career ambitions in music, but more significantly in acting. I got the impression at the time acting was more of an interest for him than was cabaret. I’ve since seen him in a couple of movies, including “Swimming Upstream” and “The Shark Net” (which were both good), but also in the telemovie about the television series, Dynasty, which was maybe not so good.
As to why he has returned to music, I don’t know, and he didn’t really say in the show either other than what I thought was a fairly trite line about singing his favourite songs and playing in a venue that the likes of Sarah Vaughn, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra had played.
Quite a bit of the show featured strong versions of standards, including “A Foggy Day In London Town” and “Night & Day”. But as a performer I thought he really came to life with more contemporary numbers, including a song by Billy Joel, and in the more obscure musical theatre numbers he chose. I think it was really then that he became authentic as a performer. He sings like an angel and with such control, but to be honest, I thought his ability to bring new life to standards was limited. A bit like Harry Connick Junior and Michael Buble doing the classics… nice… but nothing new.
Likewise, I thought the patter in between tracks was often contrived and a little disingenous. When he spoke it was very clearly tightly scripted and lacked that authenticity I mentioned earlier.
However when he sang a three item tribute to a broken relationship he really came to life as a person. One song, “I’m Alright Now” in particular, made me pretty weepy as it allowed me to reflect on my own relationship breakup. The identity of the person in the relationship was, publically at least, a closely guarded secret, but given the number of people in the audience who knew him and knew about his personal life (including his mum!) it must have been both a cathartic experience for him and a moment of on stage honesty.
I reckon Tim Draxl could become one of our best musical theatre performers… a truly rounded gifted performer… he just needs to work on the “authenticity” thing…