Funny Valentine: A Michael Bublé Tribute

Charming Canadian Crooner

Reviewed by Sookie Mei

The new show at the PSFT is not a play but a stylized concert, starring Jay Davis in a tribute to Canadian singer Michael Bublé.  The show also stars Neil Henry on guitar, Gord Mowat on bass, Matt Newton on piano, and Tim Shia on percussion.  This band is excellent, the singer is smooth, and the evening is a hit.

There is no real set, just a standard band set-up, with projected images behind the band that add some style and variety to the show.  This simple setting allows the ensemble to shine.

The conceit of the show is that Michael Bublé and his band are playing a Valentine’s Day gig in 2020.  This sets up the romantic songs that they play, and, since this concert happens right before Covid, also leads to quite a few tongue-in-cheek remarks about what a great year it is going to be, how the band can’t wait to travel the world, hugging everyone and playing in packed theatres. The jokes work, and the audience is in on it.

Davis is utterly charming, engaging the audience with humour and style, and always with a glint in his eye.  Most importantly, he is a fabulous singer, with a beautiful, silky voice that is well-suited to the material.  An excellent performer, Davis sings right to the audience, making it feel like an intimate concert with a superstar.  He even holds hands with some of the females in the audience, much to their delight.  Davis deftly encourages the occasional audience participation, and everyone gets to be part of the fun.

Not knowing much about Bublé, I can only assume that Davis is channeling him with his movement and vocal performances.  He certainly had a smooth way of moving and travelling the stage.  There are a couple of Van Morrison covers, and I imagine these were covered by Bublé, along with the other included tunes like Come Fly with Me, That’s Life, Save the Last Dance for Me, and the Bublé hit, I Just Haven’t Met You Yet. But it really doesn’t matter – Davis and the band are so good, the Bublé conceit is secondary to the performance.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable evening, capably handled by excellent musicians.  As described in the promo materials, “This show has an uplifting and powerful universal theme of hope, love and togetherness delivered with sincerity and humour.”  Check it out if you like Bublé, jazz music, or just having a good time.

Funny Valentine: A Michael Bublé Tribute continues at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre (PSFT) until June 15th.  Tickets are available at the PSFT box office at 519-782-4353 or 1-855-782-4353, or visit https://psft.ca.

Photo: Jay Davis, centre, channels Michael Bublé at Port Stanley Festival Theatre. 

Funny Valentine: A Michael Bublé Tribute
Created by and starring Jay Davis and his fabulous four-piece band
Set and Lighting Design by Joe Recchia
House Technician: Paige Thompson
Assistant Production Manager:  Kate Ingram
Performed by Jay Davis, Neil Hendry, Gord Mowat, Matt Newton, and Tim Shia
Port Stanley Festival Theatre, Bridge Street, Port Stanley
June 4 – 15, 2024
Reviewed by Sookie Mei

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