Friday, 13 April 2018

REVIEW: I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical at The Crazy Coqs

The raise to stardom of a musical performer is the object of mockery in this side-splitting revue written and composed by Alexander S. Bermange, and directed by Paul Foster. Each song representing a career milestone, like a hopeless and nerve-wrecking audition or the downsides of becoming a diva.

Walking around the room and mingling with the audience, the stunning quartet formed by Suzie Mathers, Oliver Savile, Liam Tamne and Diana Vickers contribute with their outstanding performances to the magical atmosphere of The Crazy Coqs, whose 1920s splendour offers a perfect background to the show.

Hidden in the basement of Brasserie Zédel, just off Piccadilly Circus, this intimate cabaret is a true architectural gem, with all the character and elegance of a Belle Époque den. Patrons sit around small tables, which are covered with black clothes and decorated with red flickering lamps. All chairs are facing a narrow stage, where a grand piano stands out against a red velvet curtain. There is just about enough space for the singers to sit on high stools and step forward when is their turn to perform.

The structure of the show is simple, with only a few ensemble pieces and the rest executed as a solo act. Even the man behind the piano, Bermange himself, gets his turn under the spotlight, with an amusing portrayal of a musical artist stuck in the ensemble. 

The whole playlist seems to have been put together to test the singers' range, and they carry out the most amazing vocal exercises without flinching, embodying this tongue-in-cheek caricature of their own profession with cheerfulness and talent. The outcome is pure comedy and absolutely worth the price of the ticket. 

"The Diva's in The House", executed by Mathers with the support of the company, revealed to be a catchy tune which I've been humming for a long time after leaving the venue. Although is her humour and skill in "I love to Sing" that got me in stitches.

If the promise of an exhilarant and smartly written 75-minute spectacle is not
enough, I should also mention that Brasserie Zédel is one of the most beautiful venues in town. Once part of The Regent Palace Hotel, it opened in May 1916 and was redesigned in the 1930s by one of the fathers of art deco. Fell in hard times after the Second World War, the building was finally restored in 2004 to its original grandeur and The Crazy Coqs Cabaret and Bar stands where once was the billiard room.

If you've never been there, I urge you to make amends immediately. Walk through the front shop brasserie and head down the mirror-lined staircase to rediscover the magnificence and glamour of the Belle Époque.

Review by Marianna Meloni

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: unreserved | Price of ticket: £25
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