I’m thrilled to have seen this act without reading the publicity, forming any preconceptions and I highly recommend that you do likewise – stop reading, buy a ticket and enjoy a truly delicious performance.
Meow Meow in all her tatty sequined glory with dishevelled hair and palming two cigarettes storms London’s Soho Theatre Company’s “sacred space” delivering an astounding cabaret. The simplicity of her act – her voice, her presence- is the coup de grace that makes this show so successful placing the many pretenders to this art form firmly in her shadow. Her astonishing voice is a revelation as she postures, sing, stalks, and stumbles her way through the 70-minute performance. Her gin-soaked voice –rising to a shrill crescendo at a moment’s notice – and her infinite dramatic pauses breathe flesh and blood in to the myriad of torch songs performed. She is a one-woman tour de force; exuberant and mad, her femininity squarely to the forefront as she prowls the theatre toying with her audience in a manner well in keeping with her name. Her hauntingly powerful vocals recall another era as she performs songs in flawless French, German and Italian.
Throughout the act she is physically engaged with her audience – selecting some as assistants, others as translators, yet more as furniture. In one riotous moment she crowd surfs, legs akimbo, to the highest row afterward composing herself by draining my companion’s entire glass of wine.
Meow Meow is a paradoxical character; in complete comedic disarray yet a fully composed vocalist. Her madness can be sweet, almost pathetic, even vulnerable yet she transforms to a shrieking commandant who demands a response – a seasoned, world-weary dominatrix. She is at once scattered then singularly focused. She is chaotic, striding over the crowd (think Roberto Benigni at the ’98 Oscars) then frozen mid-audience bathed in a single pink spotlight delivering a reworked version of Piaf’s La belle Histoire d’Amour. She carries us on her musical journey – her voice, her pauses take us to places of sentiment and stillness. Throughout the night she plays out a gamut of emotion from hilarity through tragedy never ever allowing her whiskers to slip.
Meow Meow is a force of nature – witness it.
Meow Meow Beyond Glamour: The Absinthe tour
19 March – 10 April 2010
Soho Theater Company
21 Dean Street
London W1D 3NE