To understand the show, Alan Cummings Is Not Acting His Age, you need to understand the man and his career.

This “Puckish”, Scottish-American actor, activist, author, and entrepreneur, provided the finale for his Adelaide Cabaret Festival with dual performances of Alan Cummings Is Not Acting His Age.

Dressed in a short-legged suit and sleeveless shirt and tie, Cumming took to the Adelaide Festival Centre stage with a humble and triumphant air, as he recounted stories about his life and musings about growing old.

To get a sense of the scope of his story base, it’s worth noting he’s sung in concert halls from the Sydney Opera House, to the London Palladium, and from the Hollywood Bowl to Carnegie Hall.

On stage and screen he’s played numerous roles from a James Bond baddie to political spin doctor, Eli Gold, on The Good Wife, for which he received Golden Globe, Emmy, and SAG award nominations.

But his stories in this show begin by recalling a night that Emma Stone rang him in New York to see if he’d be at his bar, Club Cumming, because she wanted to turn up later with Billie Jean King (they were shooting a movie at the time). It turns out, they were going to see Paul McCartney perform first and, as happens in a life like Cumming’s, McCartney asked to tag alone. Which he did.

The show is laced with songs, some fun, some anthemic, but most of them sung in a quiet style. Cumming has a knack of being able to sing softly and powerfully at once.

And beyond his stories and songs, his message about ageing is that it happens, so embrace it and push on. Of course, he says it more eloquently than that. In fact, eloquence nicely captures the spirit of Alan Cumming on stage. There’s no puffery, no exuberance, no artifice of emotion; what you get is real.

To borrow from Julia Roberts’ Anna Scott in Notting Hill, Cumming’s entreaty to us could be phrased thus: I’m  just a boy standing in front of a audience asking them to hear me.

And listen we did. And applause we offered, too; lashings of it.

Alan Cumming will be touring his show around Australia.