Bobby Fox returns to his Irish roots at Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Adelaide Cabaret Festival performer Bobby Fox with Rachel Routledge, Jessica Cathcart, Stella Montgomery, Peter Dinan and Jemma Cooke from Adelaide Academy of Irish Dancing. Courtesy: Alex Aleshin

Learning Irish dance and music as a child set Bobby Fox on the path to international acclaim in such shows as Riverdance and Jersey Boys.

Now the Australian-based performer has gone back to his roots in The Irish Boy, his solo show at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

“My entire background, since I was four, was in Irish dancing. Then later on, probably when I was about eight-years-old, I started doing Irish music as well,” Fox said.

Born in Longford, Ireland, he went on to become a four-times world champion and tour the world in Irish dance productions Riverdance and Dancing on Dangerous Ground.

“It’s something that I kind of had left behind when I came out to Australia to develop myself as a music-theatre performer,” says Fox.

Now, going back to it is just this huge sense of joy — it’s like this homecoming, in a way.”

Fox first came to Australia aged 19 in 2001 in a touring show called To Dance on the Moon, and applied for residency two years later, going on to play the lead role of Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys.

This week he met with young performers from the Adelaide Academy of Irish Dancing at Northfield, the longest-running of eight South Australian schools which cater to around 300 Irish dance students.

“It gave me the entire foundation of my profession, really, because it allowed me to know exactly how much work was necessary to actually achieve something great,” he said.

“It teaches you how to do that with anything else that you then do throughout your life.”

Adelaide Cabaret Festival continues until June 22 with new shows by acts including David Campbell, Kate Miller-Heidke, iOTA and the Modern Maori Quartet.