Performers: Eve Ferret, Roddy Matthews
Reviewer: Scott Matthewman
Her cabaret life being forged in the legendary Blitz club at the heart of the New Romanticism movement of the early Eighties, it’s clear from the outset that Eve Ferret’s new residency at Café Koha has more than an element of louche punk sensibility.
Her set peppered with loving jibes at venues such as the Crazy Coqs, whose attitude to cabaret is considerably less anarchic, Ferret is clearly more comfortable rocking up in the corner of a bar, armed with just a microphone and accompanied by her guitarist and songwriting collaborator, Roddy Matthews. The resulting hour-long set (of which there are two in each of Ferret’s fortnightly appearances) is the opposite of slick, but that is the source of the charm with which Ferret engages her audience.
The majority of songs in Ferret’s set are those she and Matthews have written themselves, and tend to follow a traditional cabaret style, allowing the chanteuse’s formidable singing voice to show itself off to its best effect, even if the lyrical content is occasionally lacking. While the occasional comedy numbers appeal to fans of Ferret’s barnstorming personality, the best combination of humour and pathos come in songs such as ‘Pimlico Belle’ and ‘Congratulations’, which allow a rarely seen more serious side to emerge, however briefly.
Even in a show dominated by self-penned songs there are destined to be some covers. But not for Ferret the usual standards: instead, she pairs up a song about Native American Pocohontas Powhatan with the Osmonds’ 1972 hit ‘Crazy Horses’, and later takes on the Sugarhill Gang’s seminal ‘Rapper’s Delight’. All are delivered with the fun enthusiasm that Ferret uses to power through her spoken interludes, which are chock full of meandering anecdotes and a smattering of her own poetry, none of which feels entirely suitable for either the venue or the mood of the evening. But that is clearly never going to stop Ferret from having a ball, and ensuring that as many of her audience as possible are caught up in the whirlwind of her performance.
There are better cabaret performers out there. There are many worse. But one thing is for sure: none are quite like Eve Ferret, and an evening in her company is guaranteed to be unforgettable.