IF a little bit of risqué cabaret is what you are after as the heatwave refuses to abate – and London is your destination or home – Halcyon Nights is for you.
Performing at Crazy Coqs in London’s Piccadilly until August 21, Halcyon Nights is a production from The Black Cabaret, an innovative performance company celebrating its 10th anniversary.
It’s fun, energetic – rather sexy – and never formulaic. Full on for 75 minutes and if you fancy a tipple, Crazy Coqs has come up with some rather delightful cocktails to get you in the mood. The Floradora, overflowing with gin, will light you from within while the Negroni is not bad either.
At the centre of proceedings is the commanding voice and presence of Katharine The Great (Joanna Woodward) who booms out songs such as Sunshine Of Your Love, The Best Things In Life Are Free and On Broadway with great aplomb.
Occasionally, she lies across a piano like a temptress. She’s the commander of the good ship The Black Cat Cabaret and she steers a good course, constantly interacting with the audience – be prepared to be teased.
Woodward smartly knits everything together, introducing Johnny Go Faster who shows us his upper body strength as he balances on an ever increasing number of chairs stacked up on top of each other. You fear for his safety, but Johnny Go Faster has biceps and triceps to die for.
As a counterpoint, there’s the rather exquisite voice of Coryna who does more than justice to classics such as The Look Of Love and Nat King Cole’s Mona Lisa And Almost Like Being In Love. Coryna is one hell of a talent. I hope success beckons for this young songstress whose vocal range is ear catching.
The risqué part of proceedings is provided by the L’Sheila Sisters who shimmer and strut their stuff throughout. All long legs that stretch for miles and miles, plus they do a wonderful bit of tap dancing. They sashay their way through the audience, flirting with anyone who looks at them.
With a band who provide solid vocal support for Katharine The Great – and who bash out a rather decent version of One Kiss Led To Another – Halcyon Nights is all rather fun. A brilliant antidote to the current all-pervading doom and gloom – and if you’re lucky you might get Johnny Go Faster to drag you on stage and ask you to eat grapes while he pretends to paint you.
With Katharine The Great bringing the show to an end with a cracking version of What Goes Up Must Go Down, Halcyon Nights is like a turmeric tonic. Uplifting. Fun. Grab a potion of it. Halcyon will revitalise parts other grander and bigger cabarets cannot reach.