Friday 26 October 2012

Anything Goes : Karen Akers Sings Cole Porter - Review

The Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zedel, London


Karen Akers
Karen Akers’ one week residency at Brasserie Zedel’s Crazy Coqs  is a cabaret performance that is simply sublime. Gliding on to the stage, in a long black dress, and a cascade of pearls, Miss Aker’s diminutive frame belies her rich and beauteous sound.

Accompanied by Leigh Thompson on piano, Aker’s set is composed entirely of Porter including many favourites,  as well as some of the lesser known gems from the talented American composer.

Opening with I’m Throwing A Ball, Akers immediately sets out her range and her understanding of Porter’s wit. Not only does she know her Porter musically, she has the most extraordinary grasp of the man’s history and a thorough understanding of the nuance that underlies each word and key change of his compositions. Her performance is a masterclass in musical theatre. Singing Let’s Fall in Love, another of Porter’s witty wonders, she interjects additional verses written by Noel Coward for the American’s classic, classy tune. The Englishman’s lyrics are as funny as they are brilliant, particularly when performed in a foggy autumnal London by such a talented Yank!

Favourites such as Don’t Fence Me In and Anything Goes sound like new songs in Akers’ delivery and Begin the Beguine is an astounding reclamation of a stunning song, back from its mauling by Iglesias! Half way through her song list, she drops a gear for a few more reflective numbers, including It's All Right and I Love Paris, in which her performance is literally spine-tingling. It is apparent that Akers’ voice is the perfect foil for Porter's poignant composer’s pencil.

The hour long set seems far too short. Thompson is a genius on the ivories, complementing the chanteuse perfectly. Catch this if you can.  Karen Akers’ cabaret is an evening of simple intimate excellence.

Runs to November 3

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