When Ruth Leon, the host and artistic director of the Crazy Coqs cabaret, introduces an act as, “probably one of the greatest night club performers of all time,” then the act needs to step up to the plate, because Ruth knows her stuff.
Amanda McBroom is the artist that Ruth Leon was introducing once again to the London audience, and she is the real deal.
Cabaret is a hard art form to master, whether you are aiming at the cutting edge, or the more relaxed Jazz-club style where standards rule. To distinguish yourself is up to the performer and their sheer talent. Most people who fail simply don’t know who they are or what they want to say.
Amanda McBroom knows exactly who she is. And she is a writer of lyrics that distinguish her above most performers in the field, because she is singing her own songs; comic songs with real bite, romantic songs that bring tears to your eyes, and political songs that speak of the real world.
Add to this the fact that Amanda McBroom is a talented performer, with real warmth, who commands a stage, graceful, she possesses a voice that is as clear as a bell and as pure as the sentiment she writes about.
Her songs have have been recorded by the likes of Bette Midler, Leanne Rimes, Barry Manilow, Judy Collins, Barbara Cook, Anne Murray, Harry Belafonte, Betty Buckley, Stephanie Mills, The Manhattan Transfer, Donny Osmond, and even West Life. But hearing McBroom sing her own songs, it doesn’t take long to realise that the best interpretation comes directly from her.
Diverting away from her own material to share Cole Porter’s I’ve Got you Under My Skin simply illustrates how closely linked the talents are. The clever rhymes and structure of Cole Porter’s tune could have been written by Amanda when one hears the clever arrangement by her musical director, Michele Brourman.
They have shared a long and fruitful relationship and the two spark off one another, harmonising at times. It is a relationship that underpins this adult night of entertainment. A night to be relished in the surrounds of a sophisticated venue like The Crazy Coq, where the sound is great, the wine flows, the piano is grand, and the artist is at the top of her game.
When Amanda McBroom finishes the evening with a haunting version of The Rose, a song she penned and offered to the producers of the movie for Bette Midler, it sounds fresh and new, as if we have never heard it before. Other hightlights include, Wheels, Errol Flynn and Jacque Brel’s Carousel (La Valse a Mille Temps).
Above all else, Amanda McBroom is a superb story-teller. A class act.