I Love to Sing: Anne Reid at The Crazy Coqs

A cabaret with music & lyrics by Marty Clark, Bob Haymes, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Jason Carr, Harold Arlen, E. Y. Harburg, Alan Jay Lerner, Burton Lane, Frederick Loewe, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Frank Loesser, Charles Strouse, Lee Adams, Marvin Hamlisch, Alan & Marilyn Bergman, Oscar Hammerstein II, Stephen Sondheim, and Amanda McBroom

Anne Reid (singer) with Jason Carr (piano)

Reviewed by: Tom Vallance

Reviewed: 27 October, 2015
Venue: The Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zédel, Piccadilly Circus, London

Anne ReidPhotograph: Catherine AshmoreThe title of Anne Reid’s new cabaret says it all. Of all her skills, singing brings her the greatest satisfaction, and it is our good fortune to share that pleasure with her. This is the second time she has performed solo at The Crazy Coqs (accompanied this time by the vastly talented Jason Carr), and her performance is scintillating. In fact, her voice has gained extra body, while her crystal-clear diction and keen sense of melody remain intact.

A BAFTA nominee for her portrayal as Daniel Craig’s lover in The Mother, she has recently starred in the series Last Tango in Halifax, and shares her reflections on these and other roles with mischievous wit. On encountering Derek Jacobi on the set of Last Tango, she asked: “What are you doing here, you only play kings!” She reprises a few stories from her earlier show, but they are worth it – she has met the Queen several times, and the tale of one particular encounter had me laughing as much as before. There are times when Reid’s delivery has a touch of the late Dora Bryan, and there is nothing wrong with that!

Reid’s choice of musical material remains impeccable, from the Rodgers & Hart classics, ‘My romance’ and ‘Isn’t it romantic?’, to her little-known opening gems, Marty Clark & Bob Haymes’s ‘They say it’s spring’ and Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller’s ‘I’m feeling too good today’. Decrying the standard of most of today’s hits, she offers ‘I wanna sing a show tune’, and among those she favours are Lerner & Loewe’s ‘How can I wait’ from Paint Your Wagon, and ‘More I cannot wish you’ from Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls.

Another Loesser rarity is ‘This is the beginning of the end’ from the 1940 film Johnny Apollo, while the song which gives Reid’s show its title, ‘I love to sing-a’, is a neglected gem introduced by Al Jolson and Cab Calloway in The Singing Kid (1936). Some verbal by-play with Carr neatly introduces a duet by the pair, Lerner & Burton Lane’s ‘How could you believe me when I said I loved you when you know I’ve been a liar all my life?’ Reid appealingly catches the pathos of Charles Strouse & Lee Adams’s ‘Once upon a time’ (from the show All American) and is heartbreaking in the Amanda McBroom classic, ‘Errol Flynn’. It is a joy to share these songs and reminiscences with the consummate Anne Reid, one of the finest cabaret stars of the day.

  • Anne Reid is at The Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zédel, 20 Sherwood Street, Piccadilly Circus, London W1 until Saturday 31 October 2015
  • Bookings 020 7734 4888
  • www.crazycoqs.com

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