BIDDIE ABOVE THE ARTS

13 Nov

BIDDLECOMBE’S BACK

James Biddlecombe in Cabaret

Above the Arts Theatre

The master of Eclectic cabaret who delights us with Traditional Music Hall numbers, all forms of Jazz, Opera, Sophisticated Review, and Modern Broadway Show tunes.

On stage there are some people who seem to grow in stature and Biddie is one of them, managing to project a kind of sequin majesty like some Medieval monarch. But despite all the glamour, Biddie is your friend, he still has the chumminess of one who loves, respects and recognises his audience.

He makes the audience feel safe and relaxed to be with him as he is one of the very few singers whose versatile voice is always perfectly in tune and clear as a bell, every lyric delivered with exquisite precision and his characters are presented dead straight but played with consummate empathy.

The show at Above the Arts was stunning. Much of the content had lyrics by Biddie himself and the music composed or arranged by his musical director Chris Marshall. Despite the venue’s simple upright piano Chris handled it with style and made it sing. He also exuded personality and affection for his audience . Here is a pair of artists who obviously enjoy working together. Their enjoyment in their hard work really pays off. and it is almost as if they are reading each others minds.

Some of the numbers in this production were Cole Porter’s ‘Tale of the Oyster’, ‘Me and the Elephant’ When He sees me’ from Sara Bareilles new Broadway musical ‘Waitress’. Biddie sings this number totally straight and yet the whole feeling and passion of the lyrics comes through – an extraordinary performance.

He begins by bemoaning the fact that ‘I’ve never Been in “Cats”’ Explores the possibilities of Solitary love, Tells us he is tired of being pure and not chased in the Eartha Kitt standard ‘I wanna Be Evil’ in which he uses traces of his basso profundo voice. ‘The Broadband Bossa Nova’ by Biddlecombe and Marshall. ‘Maureen’ a new number suggested by ‘Joleen’ by B and M.

My number one favourite is by John Forster and it is a witty song about a disastrous holiday in ‘Cancun’

Old standards which the audience request and enjoy joining in are ‘The old Bazaar in Cairo’ ‘The Rich Maharajah of Magador’ and ‘Only a Glass of champagne’

Sadly very few of these will be in their next show as they will be working on their huge back catalogue and some new material to keep their production fresh.

Their next one is ‘Baubles, Bangles and Biddie’ at the Pheasantry, Kings Road, Chelsea on December 13th.

Warning, they get booked up very quickly.

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