Peter York, Sue Tilley, Rusty Egan, Andrew Logan - more often than not such names, either alone or in combination, are the sort that crop up in some nostalgic Sunday supplement piece about "Shapers of the 80s". Yet there they all were in their finery in Soho's Arts Theatre, in 2014 (on Monday, actually) - assembled to pay homage to the doyenne of madcap camp cabaret and peignoir glamour, Miss Eve Ferret!
As my regular reader will no doubt be aware, Miss Ferret (solo, and in her original incarnation as part of "Biddie and Eve", in-house cabaret artistes at Steve Strange's seminal "Blitz" club) is a house favourite (and budding Patron Saint) here at Dolores Delargo Towers. Monday's show was the fourth time I had been to see her on stage...
Last year, the occasions were ably assisted by Celia Imrie/Fidelis Morgan, and by Adele Anderson/Hazel O'Connor.
This time, however (and Eve could hardly contain her excitement; nor could we), it was the turn of the ever-lovely Andy Bell (of Erasure) to occupy the guest slot! A fantastic choice for the launch night of Eve's first CD, Doolally (and for her forthcoming "Don't Be So Shellfish" tour). And a brilliant (and hilarious) show it was, too.
Miss Ferret - eclectic as ever - treated us to a whole raft of her own songs from the album, including favourites such as Diva's Tea Party, Handbag Girl and (I am the) Diva and previously unheard ones such as Twisted Sense of Glamour and (the rather wonderful) Cheers My Dears, alongside a clutch of bizarre oddities including This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us (Sparks), a medley of reggae songs with filthy lyrics (Push it In, Wet Dream and the like), Scars (Fran Landesman), The Model (Kraftwerk), Rapper's Delight (Sugarhill Gang) and of course her grand finale number Crazy Horses (The Osmonds)!
Here she is in a rather well-compiled video from her previous season of shows. It's Jezebel!
Andy Bell - even without Vince and with just a backing tape - still retains the ability to send shivers down the spine with his magnificently powerful voice.
His own solo numbers were simply superb - including his hit Electric Blue, a rousing sing-along version of Erasure's classic Respect, and this this, his new single with maestro DJ Dave Aude, Aftermath - Here We Go:
But the best moment - the very best - was when Andy and Eve (once she'd stopped twirling her wand behind him) took to the mikes together, to perform a wonderful duet on the Gershwins' finest torch song The Man I Love. The audience (for a moment anyhow) was completely hushed...
Eve Ferret deserves to be far more widely recognised. She is one of the warmest, funniest and most creative cabaret artistes (and indeed singers) I have had the pleasure of going to see - two hours just flew by!
As the lady herself said in a recent interview: “I like to think when I’m performing we’re all in the party together and I’m just at the helm.”
Aye, aye, Cap'n!
Facts about Eve:
- Her uncle Pierre “Baro” Ferret played gypsy jazz with Django Reinhardt in the Hot Club de France.
- She appeared in Absolute Beginners alongside David Bowie, and was also in the great man's Jazzin' For Blue Jean video.
- Among the players in Biddie and Eve's band at The Blitz (apart from Roddy Matthews, who patiently accompanies Eve to this day) were Rowland Rivron, jazz pianist Simon Wallace and (latterly opera director) Richard Jones.
- The duo were the support act for a number of New Romantic and Goth bands in the 80s, including Theatre of Hate, Blancmange and Duran Duran.
Andy Bell website
The Arts Theatre