Cabaret review: Broadway Enchanté
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review: Broadway Enchanté at Assembly Hall (Venue 35), reviewed by Martin Gray
Judy, Julie, Gene, Fred and Ginger … and Isabelle. Parisian chanteuse Isabelle Georges loves Broadway melodies, and she brings us plenty in this 70-minute show. Most of the time she sings in English, but the mischievous tone is all French.
She charms from the moment she steps on stage, cutely sexy in red and white, inviting us into her world, promising us the endless energy of la comédie musicale.
And there’s enough energy on display to light the Great White Way itself as the mellifluous Georges and partners Frederik Steenbrink (piano and vocals), Jérôme Sariati (double bass and piano), Édouard Pennes (guitar and vocals) and David Grébil (drums) guide us through a century of musical theatre.
I could have danced all night (My Fair Lady), Dites-Moi and You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught (South Pacific), I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise (An American in Paris) … Georges and the boys have them – and many more – sounding as fresh as the day they were written.
And the band members don’t stay behind the instruments, they’re bumping their bums for a sweet version of Cheek to Cheek (Top Hat), acting out the story of Singing in the Rain in just eight minutes, and as for the Age of Aquarius (Hair), well, you have to be there. There’s a bonus chorus line, tap dancing and a delightful surprise for punters in the front row.
My favourite moments saw the rich-voiced Steenbrink take the spotlight, joining Georges for a beautiful Something’s Coming (West Side Story), a mellow Try to Remember (The Fantastiks) and sending a shiver down the spine with a solo Ol’ Man River (Showboat).
A running gag concerns the question of “who’s the greatest?” when it comes to Broadway musicals: is it Gene, or Judy? Julie? I’m not sure there is a definitive answer – the stars shine, yes, but without the immortal songs we’d not remember them. And Broadway Enchanté reminds us just how magnifique those songs are.
Until 26 August. Today 7:35pm
More info: Broadway Enchanté is at Assembly Hall
Originally published in The Scotsman