Review: "Vegas to Weimar" at Brasserie Zédel.
Sparkle personified, has Miss Hope Springs created a show which is...too good to review?
Sometimes you see a show which is of such honest-to-goodness great quality, that it is actually difficult to review. So it is with “Vegas to Weimar” the utterly lovely Miss Hope Springs' most recent offering.
I have sat down to write this review twice now, and have only gotten as far as “ughhh, it was just SO GOOD”. Which... doesn’t make for a great read - so I’ve been picking apart exactly what it was that I loved about the show to which I had such a fantastic gut reaction.
Cue bullet points:
- Each and every song is fantastic.
I would say the thing which truly sets Miss Hope apart is the musical genius of her creator. As you may remember from our (frankly, marvellous) interview with Ty Jeffries, Miss Hope’s alter ego is a composer and classically-trained pianist and, as such, knows his way around a melody. Every song is funny, clever, and beautifully catchy. Liza and Barbra would go wild for them. My personal favourite had to be “Wanda” - though there are definite bonus points for the moment Hope rhymes “police” with “teeth” in one of the early numbers. I nearly choked on a mouthful of Merlot over that one.
- The depth and detail of Miss Hope’s backstory.
Miss Hope has had one heck of a life. And every last moment of it has been coloured in and shaded to make it as – if not 100% plausible, then at least fully-thought-out – as possible. This period of her life (around the late 60s, early 70s) was spent in Berlin, in the deceptively glamorous-sounding “Kabaret Vaudelesque”. This prestigious establishment had been going along quite nicely in West Berlin… but not so much on the other side of the Wall - which had been (of course) erected right down the middle of the club. Guess which side Hope ended up performing in?
Anyway, once settled on the wrong side of the tracks, Hope got to meet some of East Berlin’s most colourful characters – from Beryl the doorman, to drag queen Fifi, whose act was stolen by pesky Marlene Dietrich – and it is this band of merry figures who truly bring Hope’s monologues to life.
- Miss Hope herself and her ability to ad lib.
It almost goes without saying (but I’m going to anyway) that the real selling point of the show is Hope herself. She is mesmerising. By turns fragile and fabulous, she is sparkle personified – her eyes, her teeth, her ENORMOUS rings – and her voice (both speaking and singing) lulled me into a sense of old-world glamour from the off. (Side note – I didn’t know “boa envy” was a thing. It is.)
Her ad-libbing and audience interaction was spot-on too. An incontestable highlight being when she stopped mid-song to ask one of the slightly sozzled blondes sat at our table if she’d ever heard of Tena lady, as she had the tenacity to head to the toilets in the middle of the set! [Disclaimer – both sozzled blondes found this hysterically funny, so don't worry.]
And then, of course, the whole show was that perfect balance between polished (which helps an audience to relax) and spontaneous (which is what brings that extra excitement and sparkle to any form of entertainment).
What else can I say? It was good. Really, really good.
You’ll have to go see for yourself…and you can! Miss Springs will be at Brasserie Zédel every Sunday in April, plus May 27th.