The first time I saw Paul Capsis perform was when I was a young adult in the film Head On by Ana Kokkinos, which is based on the book Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas. Playing the transgender character Toula, I was immediately drawn to him. Then again, many years later in 2012, I saw him in his solo show Angela’s Kitchen at The Malthouse. Written by Paul and Julian Meyrick, Paul took us on a personal journey of his Maltese/Greek ancestry and family through the eyes of his grandmother, Angela. I fell in love with Paul on that day. Since then, there is nothing that I have seen of Paul, that I haven’t absolutely adored, and dry My Tears Last night, was no exception.
To be honest, I am not a huge fan of cabaret. I can only enjoy it if it has a substantial theatrical element to it, and that’s due to my Mediterranean ancestry – the Greeks invented theatre and drama. I love passion and fire, heart and soul in the shows I am an audience to. I want to feel deeply, to be moved. I want to walk away from a show and the next day still feel that music inside my body. Paul’s show Dry My Tears delivers this effortlessly.
Accompanied by The Song Company’s Francis Greep on grand piano, Paul’s carefully selected songs and intermittent storytelling and commentary (with a tinge of delicious political bite) seemed to have been strategically yet artistically placed to take audiences on an emotional journey full of longing, laughter and lament. He wears each song like an outfit, manoeuvres, shifts and alters it to fit his soul, delivering to the audience all the beauty and complexity that is Paul Capsis.
I could not take my eyes off him for a second, I didn’t want to miss a beat, Paul’s performance gave rise to complex emotions within myself. I especially enjoyed the parts where Paul sang in foreign languages as it brought to the surface what it is that I love about Paul’s performances: that they are heavily infused by the passion and theatre of his Mediterranean ancestry. In a cultural context, Paul is unapologetically gay on stage, celebrating all that he is, and this is especially powerful when the diaspora is still very backward when it comes to LGBTQIA+ rights. Can’t wait to see what Paul comes to Melbourne with next!
Koraly Dimitraidis is a Cypriot-Australian writer and performer and the author of bestselling Love and F—k Poems and Just Give Me The Pills. Her theatre show “I say the wrong things all the time” premiered at La Mama in 2016. She received Darebin Speakeasy funding in 2020 with Stephen Nicolazzo to develop a new theatre work. Koraly’s opinion articles/essays have been published widely including international publications in The Washington Post and The Guardian. She was awarded an associate artist residency at Theatre Works in 2020.
“Paul Capsis – Dry My Tears ” runs 17th May – 28th May at Fortyfive Downstairs Theatre. Book tickets here. Adelaide Cabaret Festival 23rd June at Dustan Playhouse. Book tickets here.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Fortyfive Downstairs
Photo credit: Jacquie Manning