Wednesday 31 July 2013

Sophie-Louise Dann - From Classic To Coward To Current

Crazy Coqs, London

Sophie-Louise Dann

The Crazy Coqs was packed to see Sophie-Louise Dann's return to the UK cabaret scene. Flame haired and clad in an immaculately tailored silk jacket and trousers her eclectic choice of songs opens with Its An Art from the little known Stephen Schwartz show, Working. It's a feisty number, presenting Miss Dann as a gamine take on Liza Minnelli in her pomp. Dann’s vivacity matched with her dazzling eyes gives an energy to a cabaret show that is not often seen. 

Showing a clear affinity with comic roles in song, Dann is a mistress of that challenging combination requiring the comedian's timing and dramatic talent to be married with the singer's vocal power and precision. Cole Porter's satirical Tale Of The Oyster was prised apart by the chanteuse, revealing the wit not only within the words but contained in Porter's melody too. When Dann then turns her firepower onto the Stephen Sondheim/Mary Rogers co- composition of The Boy From, her voice ascends the register with what sounds like just a hint of Keith Harris' Orville hatching. Dann's control of the comedy was at all times assured, never missing a note.

Dann has a glorious affinity towards the cornucopic composition. She closed her first act with the inspired number May I Have A Moment from her Olivier nominated performance in Lend Me A Tenor. Delivering snatches of countless famous arias, all of course recognisable to the cultured Crazy Coqs crowd who were in hysterics at her wondrous delivery. The whoops of applause as she gracefully brought the song to its conclusion had to be heard to be believed. In a similar theme, her act 2 number from Helen Goldwyn's World’s Biggest Fan, which showcases famously recognisable snatches from the best of musical theatre past and present, hints at the success Dann had achieved early in her career as a member of the Forbidden Broadway company.

Giving occasional masterclasses in performance at her alma mater, the Arts Educational School in London, one can only hope that her pupils’ summer workload includes a compulsory attendance to see "Miss" performing her gig. To hear the awesome belt that Dann can produce in both Back To Before, from Ragtime and subsequently in Kander & Ebb’s Ring Them Bells is to be in the presence of genius.

James Church provides the slickly effortless piano accompaniment to Sophie-Louise and on a balmy London summer's evening there is surely no finer way to pass the time than listening to one of the coolest divas around.

Sophie-Louise can be seen at the Crazy Coqs from July 30 to August 3 and show details can be found here

To read my profile of Sophie-Louise click here.

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