Crazy Coqs, London
The lights dim in the art deco Crazy Coqs, and slinking her way through the cabaret tables of the venue, Janie Dee eases into Duke Ellington’s Satin Doll, a song title also used to headline her week’s residency at Brasserie Zedel's wonderful basement setting.
Barely 72 hours out of her celebrated stint as the star turn in Leicester’s Curve Theatre production of Jerry Herman’s Hello, Dolly! , Miss Dee loses the brash New York/Yonkers accent that is one of the defining components of the outstanding Dolly Levi that she delivered, adopting instead a seductively smooth sound for a collection of predominantly American numbers. Acknowledging the great chanteuses, her delivery of Diana Ross' Touch Me In The Morning was a wonderfully heartfelt interpretation of that plaintive song whilst her take on Minelli’s There Goes The Ball Game early in her set was cute and enchanting.
Dressed in a strapless ballgown, fishnets, with eyes sparkling throughout and striking red heels that would grace a grown up Dorothy Gale, Miss Dee looks as good as she sounds. Later, in the Dreamgirls song, I Am Changing, Dee goes on to do precisely that, stripping down to her basque and re-dressing as a gamine coquette, complete with cocked hat and bow tie draped around her neck and all whilst performing the number with her allure, confidence and poise, perfect throughout.
Dee’s delivery of reflective anecdotes is warm and sincere, drawing the audience into some brief intimate recollections, making a thoroughly professional performance incredibly up-close and personal too. There is clearly a sound understanding between the singer and Ben Atkinson, her youthful but talented pianist that reflects a well drilled rehearsal routine, itself a fortunate spin off of his having been her musical director at Leicester.
The highlight (for this reviewer at least, though of course everyone will have their own favourite) was her inclusion of Misty. Scaling the complex chords and melodies of Errol Garner’s classic with an apparently effortless mastery, it was a spine-tingling privilege to hear the song given such a fine interpretation. Closing her set with a nod to Dolly, and the appropriately selected So Long Dearie, Dee's accomplished delivery was that of a relaxed and skilled performer who knows a song inside out. Here for 5 nights only, Dee’s Satin Doll routine is an evening of classy cabaret from one of this country’s finest artistes.
In cabaret until Saturday 26th January 2013
My profile of Janie Dee can be found here.
Hello, Dolly! at the Leicester Curve, review can be found here.
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