Wednesday, 6 April 2022

REVIEW: Lorna Dallas’ Glamorous Nights and Rainy Days at the Crazy Coqs

Lorna Dallas returns to the intimate cabaret room Crazy Coq, just off Piccadilly Circus for two nights as part of their American in London series this month. She calls this set Glamorous Nights and Rainy Days and it is a collection of songs from her past prompted by a lockdown cataloguing of memorabilia from her career. When I previously saw her at the same venue in March 2019 in her set called Stages, I was blown away by her charm, delightful reminiscences, and beautiful voice. Judging by the crowd for her first night back she has a loyal and appreciative fan base of knowledgeable aficionados including the pianist Bobby Crush. 

She still delivers each song with precision, perfect diction and a soaring voice with a wide range that is extraordinary to hear. Her short links slickly explain the reason the song is included and occasionally set the scene but there is a pervading melancholy air to the selection perhaps reflecting the past few years and I missed the more upbeat songs of my first visit which had included "There's no business-like show business”, “Stranger in Paradise", "Hello, young lovers" and "If all the world's a stage". 

The “Glamorous Nights” of the set title is the Ivor Novello song from 1935 which talks of sad dreams of well-remembered days and sets the tone for the evening with her crystal-clear vocals and precise diction. The “Rainy day” is a 1953 song by Jimmy Van Heusen & Johnny Burke sung originally by Dolores Gray in Carnival in Flanders and apparently never sung live in the UK in “its entirety”. 

My favourites were Jerry Herman’s “Put on your Sunday clothes” from Hello Dolly which she sells with her sparkling eyes, the upbeat “Back in Business” Stephen Sondheim’s song from the Dick Tracy film, the beautiful wistful “In Buddy’s Eyes” from Follies and the delightful Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley song “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory. They put a smile on your face. 

She premieres another song written for her by Amanda McBroom and Ann Hampton Callaway about her late husband Garry Brown “In my dreams” with its powerful emotional lyrics on loss. Rogers and Hammerstein II’s King and I song “I have dreamed” is another wistful song about absent love as is the Harburg and Arlen 1937 song “Buds won't bud” and Arlen & Koehler’s “When the sun comes out” written in 1941. They all bring a tear to your eye. 

She briefly plugs the rerelease of her CD “Rainbows” with the superb love song “Summer me, Winter me” by Bergman and Legrand before excelling with a delightfully fun “By Strauss” written by George Gershwin as she hits the high notes! 

Once again team Dallas is her producer Barry Kleinbort and her accompanist Chris Denny supporting her in the seventy-five-minute set with no encore. 

Lorna Dallas is a wonderful performer with a fabulous voice and is a perfect cabaret artiste with her jazz tones and soaring notes. She charms you with her little introductions and sparkles with the pleasure of singing and applause. I wish I had seen her on a West End Stage. 

Review by Nick Wayne

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: Table Seating | Price of Ticket: £25
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