BWW Reviews: EVE FERRET - MADAME BOUFFANT, Cafe Koha, April 24 2015
Cabaret is no easy gig - more would do it if it were - but it helps to get the basics right. The room must be small enough to be intimate; tables must be laden with booze; and the performer should be able to mix the pathos with the profane, the witty remarks with the withering asides; and become one of us, yet separated by their talent too.
Fortunately, Eve Ferret (in fortnightly Friday residence at Cafe Koha in the heart of the West End) builds on exactly those strong foundations. Resplendent in a floaty red peignoir (about more later), she cuts an exotic figure with red hair piled high like Rita Hayworth, an effect underlined by her first song, Diva. But she's no Rita, nor Marlene, as she proves by telling a cruel story against herself inspired by a remark made on a bus. Not many real Divas catch the 22.
Soon we're singing along to The Osmonds' odd song of praise to heroin (well, that was always my reading) Crazy Horses, the first of a strange mix of seventies singalong interludes, including a joyous Rapper's Delight.
But it's the personal and the painful that lights up a cabaret and we get plenty of that in songs like Scars (the pain of an intense love affair now gone) and Pimlico Belle, a beautiful evocation of her home for half a century or more. After a few rambling stories and more Victoria Woodish songs, the first show (of two each evening) concludes with a riotous hymn to her favoured garment, the red peignoir, the glorious impracticality of which gives Eve enormous pleasure and can even stop wars - is Hillary listening?
This is old-fashioned entertainment with as many echoes of Tessie O'Shea as of Edith Piaf, but, supported by some very fine guitar work from Roddy Matthews, it's a blissfully relaxing way to round off a week of emails and meetings. You emerge from Eve's underground lair smiling and ever so slightly surprised to find that you're not in the Boulevard St Germain after all.