He’s an accomplished performer and he clearly relishes life in the spotlight. After attracting controversy as a straight-talking judge on TV celeb-fest Dancing With The Stars, he’s also accustomed to attention.
All of which made Todd McKenney’s strategy in his self-titled show playing at the Star City Showroom a surprise.
Many of the most interesting moments of this busy production belonged not to its host but to a surreal line-up of co-stars.
The big revelation here was the appearance of special guest Pauline Hanson -“ but not on account of an undiscovered flair for the stage.
The former One Nation leader’s famously nasal tones were just as irritating as she burst into song on a duet with McKenney of the Peggy Lee classic Fever.
The surprise, in fact, was the warm reception given by this city audience to the notorious right-winger, with whom McKenney struck up an unlikely friendship after Hanson’s efforts on Dancing With The Stars last year.
Hanson’s appearance would seem to prove that good-natured self-parody is a sure path to endearment.
So, too, is an ability to dismiss fears of old age with a high-powered high kick, as other McKenney collaborators the Golden Girls proved admirably.
This 30-strong group of women might be well past retirement age, but their show-stopping can-can, with McKenney at its centre, was a highlight.
An appearance from yodeller Mary Schneider was equally zany, while dance numbers from ABC TV’s Strictly Dancing champions Linda De Nicola and Adrian Sieb brought glamour and more than a touch of technical precision.
That’s not to say McKenney was concealing his own talent: his dancing was on-form and his banter with the audience and his impressive back-up singers punctuated the score nicely.
However, for long-term McKenney fans at least, the music was the highlight, as the former The Boy From Oz star mined past performances for sure-fire crowd-pleasers.
Hits from The Boy From Oz followed, before an eye-popping finale of the Village People’s YMCA, complete with Pauline Hanson in sequinned sailor suit.
But it was the encore of Peter Allen’s Tenterfield Saddler that lingered.
Its pared-back delivery by a McKenney now free of distracting co-stars was a refreshing contrast to the exuberance that had come before.
Todd McKenney Live is at Star City Showroom until 20 June. Bookings on 132 849.