David Bedella in concert at Crazy Coqz. 4****. William Russell.

As a way to start the New Year this hour long cabaret performance by David Bedella was as good as could be. He is the award winning lead in three musicals – Jerry Springer, the Opera, In The Heights and &Juliet. It doesn’t quite make him a bums on seats star but a star performer he undeniably is and it was a fascinating choice of songs. There was no audience. The Crazy Coqz cabaret room is too small for social distancing so a film crew and his accompanist Steve Clark apart, plus some clever use of orchestral backing tracks for songs he had recorded that was it – intimate, charming and civilised although he did meander a bit. You really do need a script, and while he was greeting his far flung audience – the show was being screened – it really doesn’t add to the intimacy of such an occasion. Cabaret like this is between you and the performer. Steve Clark proved an impeccable accompanist, although there were too many shots of them both and it tended to take one’s attention away from Bedella. One reason is Mr Clark does behave a bit like one of those nodding dogs in car windows. He would be better heard but not seen. The selection of songs was eclectic, standouts being two Jerry Herman numbers beautifully performed – a schmaltzy one from Cage Aux Folles and There’s Gotta be Something Better than This from Sweet Charity suddenly painfully topical. Bedella has a gorgeous voice, oozes charm, has a twinkle in the eye and proved delightful company, a peformer at the top of his game. The programme was in spite of a couple of why were they there? numbers a welcome change from the usual homage to Sondheim one gets, the chat was amiable and and making his acquaintance a pleasure. & Juliet was a pandemic casualty so it may come out of cold storage when things get better than this. Several casualties are promised to return but only time will tell.

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